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NZ Plants

Sticherus cunninghamii - umbrella fern, tapuwae kotuku, waekura

Tangle and umbrella fern family: Gleicheniaceae

Sticherus cunninghamii is a terrestrial fern with long-creeping scaly rhizomes bearing distinctive umbrella-like fronds. The frond stalk (stipe) terminates in a bud and the frond midrib (rachis) forks 3-4 times at narrow angles with a bud between the new pair of branches. The bud at the end of the stipe will grow into another extension of the frond to form a new tier of leaflet-bearing branches . Ultimate leaflets are flat and not pouched and sporangia are in groups of 4-5 .
An endemic fern found in at higher altitudes in the North Island to lowland areas on the South Island.

Vegetative characteristics

Fertile frond and sporangia

Plant form: creeping rhizome with branching fronds up to 1.4 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 4-5 sporangia

Frond surface: sparse hairs

Sorus shape: circular

Leaflets: linear, blunt-tip; attached along base (adnate)

Sorus covering: 0