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NZ Plants

Schizaea bifida - forked comb fern

Family name: Schizaeaceae

Schizaea bifida is a terrestrial fern with a short-creeping stem (rhizome). The frond consists of an erect reed-like stipe (stalk) that is undivided or forked 1 or more times and a terminal portion bearing reduced, infolded fertile leaflets. Sporangia are in rows and not arranged into distinct sori.

Found in the North Island and the northern portion of the South Island on poor soils in gumland scrub and geothermal areas.

 Vegetative characteristics

Fertile frond and sporangia

Plant form: creeping stems with fronds up to 50 cm in length

Frond appearance: taller than sterile frond

Frond stalk, midrib:  divided 1 or more times, glossy, leathery, rough with hairs

Sporangium location: on fertile leaflets at tip of stipe

Frond shape: reed-like

Sporangium position: on infolded fertile leaflet surface  

Frond blade: oblong, 5-30 mm; 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