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


Loxsoma cunninghamii

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Cyatheales
Family: Loxsomataceae
Genus: Loxsoma
Species: L. cunninghamii
Binomial name: Loxsoma cunninghamii

Loxsoma cunninghamii is the only species in the genus Loxsoma. It occurs in Northland, Auckland, and Coromandel and it does not occur naturally anywhere else in the world. The closest relative of Loxsoma is in South America. Although related to tree ferns, Loxsoma cunninghamii does not form a trunk. It can be recognised by its reproductive structures which are held in cup-like structures that project from the margins of the undersides of the highly divided fronds. (See photo below) Loxsoma cunninghamii has long-creeping rhizomes and chestnut brown stipes which are up to 20- 60cm long.
It is a rare fern and is hard to transplant. It should never be removed from the wild.

This fern is over 70 years old.  It was planted in the Pukekura Park Fernery, New Plymouth. in 1939.


Young fern. Fronds are yellow green and divided 3-4 times (3-4 pinnate).


Pinnae, top surface - Pinnae (leaflets) lack hairs.
 

 Localised areas on the margins are turned under where sori are attached on the underside.


Pinnae, lower surface - Sporangia are grouped into sorus borne in notches of the ultimate frond segments. 
 

Each sorus is borne on a short stalk and enclosed by a tubular cup (indusium). As sporangia mature, they protrude from the indusium. Photo below of devloping sori 

Developed sori with spores. Click photo to enlarge.