Questions? AskAuckland

NZ Plants

Nephrolepis flexuosa-native ladder fern

Family: Lomariopsidaceae

Nephrolepis flexuosa is a terrestrial fern with short, erect stems and lateral stems (runners) that form new plants at their tips.  The almost parallel-sided fronds are yellow green, stiff and erect when young but drooping with age. Often confused with the naturalised and aggressive Nephrolepis cordifolia which differs in having tubers and wider, stouter and more rigid fronds.

Found in thermal areas of the North Island.


Vegetative characteristics

Fertile frond and sporangia


Plant form: erect stem with fronds up to 65 cm in length

Frond appearance: leaflets are slightly shorter and margins rarely toothed


Frond stalk, midrib: pale brown

Sporangium location: lower frond surface


Frond shape: linear

Sporangium position: near leaflet margin


Frond blade: pinnate (divided 1x into leaflets)

Sporangia distribution: in groups (sori)


Frond surface: leathery, with hydathode glands

Sorus shape: circular


Leaflets: oblong, smooth to slightly toothed   

Sorus covering: half-moon shaped, attached on one side, opening towards leaflet tip