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NZ Plants

Cyathea smithii - katote, soft tree fern

Family: Cyatheaceae

Cyathea smithii is characterised by-green frond stalks (stipes) with golden scales and golden stellate hairs on the underside of horizontally held soft fronds. When fronds senesce, they persist as a skirt of dead stipes and rachises.
An endemic species found on the North Island south to Dunedin on the South Island.


Vegetative characteristics

Fertile frond and sporangia

Plant form: trunks up to 20 m bearing fronds up to 2. 5 m in length

Frond appearance: similar to sterile frond

Frond stalk, midrib: scales lacking marginal spines

Sporangium location: on lower frond surface

Frond shape: elliptic

Sporangium position: away from leaflet margin

Frond blade: 3-pinnate (divided 3x into leaflets or pinnae)

Sporangia distribution: in groups (sori)

Frond surface: hairs and scales on underside

Sorus shape: circular

Leaflets: oblong, round- toothed margins, pointed at the tip;  attached along leaflet base (adnate)

Sorus covering:  saucer-shaped covering (indusium)