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NZ Plants

Arthropteris tenella - jointed fern

Family name: Tectariaceae

Arthropteris tenella is a terrestrial and an occasional epiphytic fern with a long creeping to climbing stem (rhizome) bearing divided shiny dark green tapering fronds with jointed, stalked leaflets.

Found on the Three Kings Islands, the North Island and the South Island to Banks Peninsula in coastal forest.

Vegetative characteristics

Fertile frond and sporangia

Plant form: creeping stem bearing fronds up to 300 mm

Frond appearance: similar to sterile frond

Frond stalk, midrib: stipe, midrib  with scales and hairs

Sporangium location: lower frond surface

Frond shape: elliptical tapering to the tip and base

Sporangium position:  in 1 row either side of midrib

Frond blade: once divided (pinnate)

Sporangia distribution: in groups (sori)

Frond surface: glossy, sparse hairs

Sorus shape: oval

Leaflets: narrowly ovate, tapering, margins scalloped or smooth, bases stalked and jointed to leaf axis


Juvenile characteristics: frond undivided or partially divided into oval to round leaflets

Sorus covering: 0