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NZ Plants

Adiantum cunninghamii - common maidenhair fern

Family: Pteridaceae

Adiantum cunninghamii is a terrestrial fern with a creeping stem (rhizome) and dark green to blue green fronds that are pale blue-green underneath. The frond stalk (stipe) and axis (rachis) are hairless and bear oblong leaflets .
An endemic species found on the North and South Islands in coastal and lowland forest.
Named after the English botanist and explorer, Allan Cunningham (1791-1839).

Vegetative characteristics

Fertile frond and sporangia

Plant form: creeping stems with fronds up to 35 cm in length

Frond appearance: similar to sterile frond

Frond stalk, midrib: glabrous

Sporangium location: on lower frond surface

Frond shape: oval to elliptic

Sporangium position: in shallow notch beneath reflexed leaflet margin

Frond blade: 2-3-pinnate (divided 2-3x into leaflets or pinnae), often bluish-green on the underside

Sporangia distribution: in groups (sori)

Frond surface: hairless

Sorus shape: circular

Leaflets: oblong, curved upward at tip; irregularly lobed outer margins; stalk attached at one end

Sorus covering: kidney-shaped marginal flap