Questions? AskAuckland

NZ Plants

Psilotum nudum - whisk fern

Family: Psilotaceae

Psilotum nudum lacks roots and true leaves. It is an epiphyte or terrestrial plant anchored by a creeping underground stem (rhizome). The green aerial stems are strongly angled, fork repeatedly in different planes. Stems bear small needle-like outgrowths (lacking vascular tissue), which are spirally arranged on the upper part of the aerial stem. Sporangia are fused into groups of three (a synangium).
Found throughout New Zealand in exposed and dry areas where there is little competition from other plants. It grows on the ground (with erect stems) or as an epiphyte (with pendulous stems).

Vegetative characteristics

Fertile frond and sporangia

Plant form: aerial stems up to 40 c m bearing tiny scale leaves

Frond appearance: 0

Arrangementy of stem outgrowths: spiral

Sporangium location: at tip of lateral branch

Shape of stem outgrowths: needle-like

Sporangium position:

Size of stem outgrowths: up to 1 mm

Sporangia distribution: fused in groups of three (synangium)


Sorus shape: 0


Sporangium covering: 0