Tmesipteris lanceolata


Tmesipteris: From the Greek tmesis (cutting) and pteris (fern), alluding to the forked appendages on fertile fronds
lanceolata: Lance-shaped

Common Name(s)

Fork Fern

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Tmesipteris lanceolata P.A. Dang.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class



Tmesipteris forsteri sensu A.Cunn. nom. inv., Tmesipteris tannensis sensu Sahni nom. inv., Tmesipteris tannensis var. lanceolata (P.A.Dang.) Domin


Indigenous. New Zealand: Kermadec Islands (Raoul Island) North and Chatham Islands. In the North Island present from Te Paki to about Gisborne and Tataraimaka on the Egmont Coast. Also present in Australia (Queensland - scarce) and New Caledonia


Coastal to montane, though mostly lowland. Epiphytic, mostly on tree ferns (especially Cyathea spp.), very rarely on tree trunks.


Rhizomatous, rhizome brittle, dichotomously branched, 1-2 mm diameter, covered with dark brown rhizoids. Aerial shoot: simple, pendulous, 40-200 mm long; sporophylls spirally arranged, leaves distichously arranged, terminating in a large appendage slightly shorter, equal to, or longer than the largest leaves developed. Leaves subcoriaceous to coriaceous, margin often thickened; dorsiventral, upper surface shiny or glossy deep green or pale green, lower surface dull green covered with stomata; shape ovate to ovate-oblong, apex acute or sometimes ± obtuse, mucro short, thick, 1.0-1.5 mm long; 6-25 × 2-8 mm broad. Sporophylls 3-6 per 10 mm of stem usually restricted to the lower ½ of the shoot although in small specimens they may occur throughout. Synangium small 2-4 × 1-2 mm; lobes equal or the proximal one slightly smaller ± globular, yellowish brown at maturity, persistent. Spores pale yellow released in a mass, anisopolar, bilateral, monolete, foveolate, concavo-convex, 50-72 × 17-30 microns.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from the three other named fork ferns by the combination of: 1. testiculate synangia, 2. sterile leaves distichously arranged, 3. Leaves ovate to ovate-oblong, coriaceous, apex acute and 4. sporophylls restricted to the lower half of the shoot.


Not applicable - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not applicable - spore producing

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 208

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (June 2009). Description adapted from Chinnock (1975).

References and further reading

Chinnock, R.J. 1975: The New Zealand species of Tmesipteris (Psilotaceae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 13: 743-768

This page last updated on 19 Jan 2014