Coastal brake, netted brake
Pteris comans G.Forst. (misapplied name)
Vascular – Native
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
2n = 58, 60
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website. This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants.
Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – an interim threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
- Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017 . 2018. Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Department of Conservation. Source: NZTCS and licensed by DOC for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.
2017 | Not Threatened | Qualifiers: SO
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand: Kermadec Islands (Raoul, the Meyers Islands and Macauley Island), Three Kings and North Island from North Cape to Bay of Plenty in the east and Awhitu Peninsula in the west with an outlying population near Mokau.
Coastal in forest especially on the sides of gullies, on banks and in valley heads. A very common offshore island fern
Terrestrial ferns. Rhizomes short, erect, scaly. Stipes 0.25-0.6 m long, pale brown, glabrous or scaly at very base. Laminae 0.2-1.8 × 0.15-0.9 m, dark green to yellow-green, 2-3-pinnate at base, ovate, coriaceous, veins reticulate. Pinnae not overlapping; most lower secondary pinnae adnate. Ultimate segments 10-55 × 5-10 mm, oblong, apices tapering or bluntly pointed, margins toothed. Sori continuous along pinna margins on a marginal vein, protected by a membranous inrolled pinna margins.
Pteris carsei is easily distinguished from all other New Zealand Pteris by the coriaceous (leathery) fronds, reticulate venation, overlapping pinnae and large ultimate segments. The only other Pteris with reticulate venation are P. saxatilis and P. maclienta. Pteris saxatilis differs by the very widely spaced primary and secondary pinnae; laminae 0.15-0.5 × 0.12-0.25 m, and the ultimate segments up to 15 × 5 mm. Pteris saxatilis hybridises freely with P. carsei. Pteris maclienta is distinguished from both species by the less widely spaced primary and secondary pinnae; laminae 0.25-0.9 × 0.15-0.5 mm, and the ultimate segments up to 15 × 5 mm. It is unclear whether Pteris maclienta forms hybrids with P. comans or P. saxatilis.
Not applicable - spore producing
Not applicable - spore producing
Results vary with some people finding Pteris carsei easy to grow and others well nigh impossible. Pteris carsei resents cold conditions and seems to do best in a semi-shaded, light, sandy, but moist soil.
pteris: A fern known to the ancient Greeks; from the Greek pteris
Pteris carsei has long been known in New Zealand as P. comans a species which actually occurs in Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and Fiji (and possibly New Caledonia). The usage of the name for the New Zealand plant stemmed from an error made by the Georg Forster who stated he collected the type from New Zealand when it actually came from Tanna Island (Brownsey et al. 2020). A form of Pteris found along the North-West Nelson and northern Westland coastline, often on calcareous rocks, and sometimes extending well inland in karst country has also been placed within a broad concept of P. comans or P. maclienta by various fern experts. This form is apparently closest to the Australian form of P. comans (J.E. Braggins pers. comm.) and has been listed in past Threatened and Uncommon New Zealand Vascular Plant listings as Pteris aff. macilenta (AK 210045; Punakaiki) (see de Lange et al. 2009). It was removed from that list in 2009 because it is now known to be more widespread than had been believed. Nevertheless it warrants further study.
Fact sheet [repared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (17 January 2012). Description adapted from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961: New Zealand Flora. Vol. I. Wellington, Government Printer.
Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants. Auckland, David Bateman.
Brownsey, P.J.; Braggins, J.; Perrie, L. 2020: Pteris carsei (Pteridaceae), a new endemic fern from New Zealand previously treated as P. comans G.Forst.,
New Zealand Journal of Botany 58: 214-222. DOI: 10.1080/0028825X.2019.1701503
de Lange, P.J.; Norton, D.A.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Hitchmough, R.; Townsend, A.J. 2009: Threatened and uncommon plants of New Zealand (2008 revision). New Zealand Journal of Botany 47: 61–96.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Pteris carsei Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/pteris-carsei/ (Date website was queried)