Umbrella fern, Waekura, Tapuwae kotuku
Gleichenia cunninghamii Hook.
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 = 68
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). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By 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.
2012 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand; North, South, Stewart and Auckland Islands. Widespread and common, though often absent from large parts of the eastern side of the two main islands
Coastal to montane (but mostly coastal only in the wetter western part of the South Island, and in Stewart and Auckland Islands). Usually in forest where it may at times form the dominant ground cover. Also common along shaded stream banks, and in wetter areas a prominent fern along roadside cuttings.
Rhizomatous fern. Rhizomes long creeping, copiously covered in scales. Fronds erect, up to 1.4 m high. Stipes 0.2-0.5(-0.8) m long, pale brown, scaly and hairy, scales ciliate, hairs stellate. Rachises in 1-3 tiers, each forking 3-4×, 120-300 mm from the stipe to tip of the longest branch, spreading and drooping in the form of an umbrella, abundantly scaly; apex of each fork terminated by a bud. Pinnae up to 15 × 3 mm, linear, acute, veins free, adaxially green, abaxially glaucous white or white. Sori in one row either side of midrib, set well away from pinna margins, consisting of c.5 aggregated sporangia, indusia absent. Description adpated from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).
Easily distinguished from Sticherus flabellatus var. flabellatus and S. tener by the shorter, scaly frond, narrower and much longer frond divisions, and by the pinnules which are shorter and wider and which usually have white to whitish-glaucescent undersides.
Difficult - should not be removed from the wild.
sticherus: In rows; from the greek sticheres; arrangement of the spore clusters
cunninghamii: Named after Allan Cunningham (1791 – 1839) who was an English botanist and explorer, primarily known for his travels to Australia (New South Wales) and New Zealand to collect plants. Author of Florae Insularum Novae Zelandiae Precursor, 1837-40 (Introduction to the flora of New Zealand).
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 16 March 2011. Description adapted from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).
References and further reading
Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants. Auckland, David Bateman
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Sticherus cunninghamii Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/sticherus-cunninghamii/ (Date website was queried)