Asplenium flaccidum subsp. flaccidum (Hanging Spleenwort)
Genus: Asplenium L.
Species: A. flaccidum
Binomial name: Asplenium flaccidum
Subspecies: Asplenium flaccidum subsp. flaccidum
Common name: Hanging Spleenwort, Drooping Spleenwort, Weeping Spleenwort, Makawe,
The family of Aspleniacea ferns are easily recognised by having sporangia in rows along the veins on the lower surface of pinnae (leaflets). Sporangia in each row are partially obscured by a covering (indusium) attached to one side. This is a large, distinctive group with about 20 species in New Zealand. Asplenium flaccidum is a common epiphytic of this species of fern. The plant and the species name flaccidum is derived from the Latin root meaning drooping. It is usually found growing from the trunks of trees and tree ferns in the bush. It’s limp, dull green, hanging fronds reach up to 1m in length and are quite thick and leathery to touch.
Asplenium flaccidum subsp. flaccidum is a very common but variable species. It is very common but very variable ern. It is found from exposed coastal areas up to montane forests throughout New Zealand. It has a short-creeping, thick rhizome that is thickly covered with dark brown to black scales. Its fronds are pendent, >90 cm long, 1–2-pinnate with pinnae often deeply pinnatisect or 2-pinnatisect, veins free; lamina bright green, thick and leathery, and never gives rise to proliferous buds. The sori (2–7 mm long) appear marginal on each leafy segment of the blade,
A juvenile fern Asplenium flaccidum (Hanging Spleenwort). Photographed at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.
Asplenium flaccidum is a very common but variable species It is usually an epiphyte in forests but occasionally in rock scrub it grows on the ground (see photo below). Photographed just north of Lake Taupo, North Island.
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