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NZ Plants

Schizaea dichotoma - fan comb fern

Family name: Schizaeaceae

Schizaea dichotoma is a terrestrial fern with a short-creeping stem (rhizome). The frond stalk (stipe) is an erect reed-like stipe (stalk). The terminal portion of the stipe is flattened and forks many times to form a fan-like array of branches, each bearing reduced, infolded fertile leaflets. Sporangia are in rows and not arranged into distinct sori.

Found on the Kermadec Islands and in the central North Island in lowland kauri/podocarp forest and thermal areas. .

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: glossy, leathery, divided 3-6 times ( fan-shaped)

Sporangium location: on fertile leaflets at tip of stipe

Frond shape: reed-like

Sporangium position: on infolded fertile leaflet surface

Frond blade: oblong; divided 1 time (pinnate), infolded leaflets

Sporangia distribution: in one row either side of midrib

Frond surface: hairs

Sorus shape: 0

Leaflets: sterile leaflets absent

Sporangium covering:  inrolled leaflet margins