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


Blechnum novae-zelandiae (Kiokio)

Kingdom: Plantae 
Division: Pteridophyta 
Class: Pteridopsida 
Order: Blechnales 
Family: Blechnaceae
Species: Blechnum
Scientific name: Blechnum novae-zelandiae
Common name: Kio kio, Kiokio  Blechnum Capense,

Kiokio (Blechnum novae-zelandiae)  it can be found growing abundantly on clay banks along roadsides and rivers. The long cascading fronds (up to 2m long and 50cm wide) are a bright pink colour when new, and turn light green and then darker green as they mature.
Blechnum novae-zelandiae is an endemic fern of New Zealand. It belongs to the family of hard ferns, the second largest of New Zealand’s fern families. Once it was formerly know as Blechnum capense.
It is a common fern found throughout New Zealand. It is frequently seen on roadside banks and in forest gullies as well as in scrub and swamp.  It has long cascading fronds (up to 2m long and 50cm wide) are a bright pink colour when new, and turn light green and then darker green as they mature. The new fronds has red tones in the sun. Blechnum novae-zelandiae has fertile and sterile fronds of different form on the same plant. During every growing season, some adult ferns form: 
Sterile fronds that lack sporangia
Fertile fronds that bear sporangia

The two types of fronds often differ in appearance, a condition known as frond dimorphism (di= two; morph= form). Frond dimorphism is found in many genera of New Zealand ferns.Those of the fertile fronds are much reduced in width and have a black row of sporangia at each leaflet margin 

Blechnum novae-zelandiae on the bank of the upper Te Henui walkway


When young, many fronds (both sterile and fertile) are rich in unmasked red pigments (anthocyanins). As they mature, green chlorophyll predominates.


The mature fronds have turned green

Sterile and fertile fronds - Leaflets (pinnae) on sterile fronds are 5-10 mm broad while those of the blackish fertile frond are 2-5 mm across.  Both the sterile fronds and the fertile fronds are elliptic in shape and seldom exceed 250 cm in length.

The blackish fertile frond.

The upper surface of a fertile frond


Underside of a fertile leaflet


Underside of a fertile leaflet - The leaflet is only wide enough to bear sporangia in one continuous row on each side of the midrib. Prior to spore release the covering (indusium, attached on the side nearest the frond margin) pulls back from the midrib to expose the sporangia. Large scales are attached to the midrib. 

The underside of an sterilr frond

New frond developing 
Two new fronds unfurling.