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NZ Plants

Paesia scaberula - mātātā, lace fern, scented fern

Family: Dennstaedtiaceae

Paesia scaberula is a creeping ground fern with harsh, lacy and yellowish-green fronds with a zig-zag axis (rachis). Both frond stalk (stipe), midrib (rachis) and lower surface of leaflets are covered with long and short glandular hairs. A sweet musky fragrance is released in the heat of the morning sun.
An endemic fern found throughout New Zealand in open places.

Vegetative characteristics

Fertile frond and sporangia

Plant form: creeping stem (rhizome) with fronds up to 800 mm in length

Frond appearance: fertile leaflets are less divided, often being 3-pinnate

Frond stalk, midrib: red-brown, long red hairs, short glandular hairs

Sporangium location: lower frond surface

Frond shape: ovate to elliptic

Sporangium position: leaflet margin

Frond blade: 3-4-pinnate (divided up to 4x into leaflets or pinnae)

Sporangia distribution: in groups (sori)

Frond surface: short glandular hairs

Sorus shape: continuous along leaflet margin

Leaflets: narrowly elliptic and sharply toothed   

Sorus covering: a reflexed leaflet margin and an inner membranous covering.