Dicksonia lanata (Tuokura)
Species: D. lanata Colenso
Scientific name: Dicksonia lanata Colenso
Common names: Dicksonia lanata, tuokura, tuakura, Prostrate Tree Fern, Woolly Tree Fern, Stumpy Tree Fern due its relative lack of height.
Dicksonia lanata is endemic to New Zealand’s North and South Islands. There are two forms of this tree fern in the wild. A trunked form is found growing in the Kauri forests of Northland where species develop a short slender trunk measuring up to 2m x 15cm diameter.
The second form has a prostrate, creeping trunk; and is not really a tree fern. This prostate form is more widespread growing on around the centre of the North Island but is uncommon in the far most southern regions of the North Island. The prostate form is also found on the South Island, growing on the west coast from Marlborough down to Franz Josef. The species grows between sea level and 700m in lowland and montane forests. In the South Island the species is rarely found growing below 250m. The fern has been considered to be hardy down to -6°C.
The name Dicksonia lanata derives from: Dicksonia – named in honour of James Dickson, 1738-1822, a British nurseryman. Lanata – the meaning of the name is unknown. The species was discovered by William Colenso (1811 –1899). Colenso was an avid botanist who worked closely with Kew Gardens detailing and transmitting his finding back to the country of his origin. He was also notable for the first printing of the Treaty of Waitangi.