T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Microsorum scandens (Fragrant Fern)

Kingdom: Plants
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Polypodiaceae
Botanical name: Microsorum scandens
Synonym: Phymatosorus scandens, Polypodium pustulatum sensu, Microsorium pustulatum sensu, Phymatodes pustulata sensu, Drynaria scandens.  
Common name: Fragrant fern, mokimoki

The climbing fern Microsorum scandens has a thin creeping rhizome. As a juvenile it grows on the ground with thin dull single green 2cm wide fronds. These single fronds may be up to 30cc long. When it starts to climb trees it develops adult fronds. These adult fronds can be up to 50cm long and up to18cm wide.
The sori are small and are in a small cavity. These cavities form lumps on the upper surface. Phymatosorus scandens fronds are narrower and more numerous than the frond segments of Phymatosorus diversifolius. It can be found in coastal to lowland forests in damp conditions creeping on the ground or climbing trees in damp conditions. 

Mokimoki is easily distinguished from the other two New Zealand Microsorum species by its thin rhizomes, 2–4 mm diameter, covered in erect dark brown to purple-brown scales, and its membranous, dull green, pleasantly scented fronds, which have narrower and more numerous pinnae. It is also much less drought tolerant so prefers less open, shaded and damper situations.

The Mokimoki was used by the Maoris mixed with other oils as scented products.



This was one several fronds growing on the forest floor. They usually grow as an epiphyte.


Photo showing 6 different fronds in different stages of development all on the same stem.

A juvenile Fragrant Fern


Fronds changing to adult form


Adult frond.  See the lumps on the surface formed by the sori cavities on the underside.
 
Sori on underside of frond


Close up of Fragrant ferns sori