Fork ferns and whisk ferns
Tmesipteris tannenisis. Photographer: Jeremy Rolfe.
Fork ferns (Tmesipteris) are epiphytic and have creeping stems but no roots. The leathery forked leaves are spirally arranged around the stem and sporangia are fused in pairs on the upper surface of the leaves. There are four species of fork fern in New Zealand:
Tmesipteris elongata. Photographer: Jeremy Rolfe.
Whisk ferns (Psilotum) have no true leaves or roots. It is the stem that is photosynthetic and repeatedly forks and so forms a small twiggy bush. Whisk ferns have a rhizome that anchors it to the soil. There are two species of whisk fern, only one of which, Psilotum nudum, occurs in New Zealand.
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This page last updated on 25 Sep 2012