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


Pyrrosia eleagnifolia (Leather Leaf Fern)

Kingdom:   Plantae
Division:    Pteridophyta
Class:        Pteridopsida
Order:       Polypodiales
Family:      Polypodiaceae
Genus:      Pyrrosia
Species:     P. eleagnifolia
Binomial name: Pyrrosia eleagnifolia
Common name: Leather-leaf fern, Ngarara Wehi, Ota.

Pyrrosia eleagnifolia a common climbing fern found in New Zealand. It is endemic to coastal to montane areas of the Kermadec, Three Kings, North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands.
P. eleagnifolia can either grow from the ground or as an epiphyte on trees, rocks, cliff faces and on urban structures
by a long creeping rhizome. Its thick leathery tongue shape fronds are 3 -20cm long, 1 to 2cm wide and are tough and leathery. The smaller rounded fronds are barren. IInitially the fronds are sparsely covered in long straight translucent caduceus (shed at an early stage) hairs.  The undersides of the fronds are completely covered in white star shaped hairs. These stop dehydration in dry weather.
This fern has a range of frond shapes; the longer narrow ones are fertile and on maturity are usually covered with sori on the underside.



Mature fertile fronds.




Underside of a fertile frond showing the sori.


Other frond shapes.


Sterile fronds


Sterile fronds.


The top surface of a sterile frond before the hairs drop off.


The underside of a sterile frond.


Photos below is of a strange frond mutation


The stellate hairs are visible.