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NZ Plants

Gleichenia microphylla - waewaekaka, carrier tangle fern

Tangle and umbrella fern family: Gleicheniaceae

Gleichenia microphylla is a terrestrial fern with long-creeping scaly rhizomes. The frond axis (rachis) repeatedly forks at wide angles with a bud between the new pair of branches. This bud will grow into another extension of the frond rachis with a bud between a new tier of leaflet-bearing branches . Branching of a frond can continue almost indefinitely. Ultimate leaflets are flat and not pouched and sporangia are in groups of 2-4 .
Found in moist lowland areas throughout New Zealand often forming dense impenetrable tangles.

Vegetative characteristics

Fertile frond and sporangia

Plant form: creeping rhizome with branching fronds up to 2 m tall

Frond appearance: similar to sterile frond

Frond stalk, midrib: fringed  scales, stellate hairs

Sporangium location: on lower frond surface

Frond shape: ultimate branches linear

Sporangium position: away from margin

Frond blade: ultimate branches pinnate (divided 1x into leaflets or pinnae)

Sporangia distribution: in groups (sori) each consisting of 2-4 bright yellow sporangia

Frond surface: leathery

Sorus shape: circular

Leaflets: oblong, tapering and flat; attached along base

Sorus covering: 0