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


Umbrella fern (Sticherus cunninghamii)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta (native to New Zealand.)
Class: Pteridopsida/ Polypodiopsida (disputed)
Order: Gleicheniales
Family: Gleicheniaceae
Genus:  Sticherus
Species: S cunninghamii 
Binominal name: Sticherus cunninghamii 
Synonym: Gleichenia cunninghamii
Common name:Umbrella fern, Tapuwae kotuku, Waekura 

Sticherus cunninghamii, is a creeping native ground fern characterised by its drooping fronds that resemble an umbrella. The fronds are whitish below, rising up to three tiers, each forking three to four times in star-like patterns. The fronds are 15 - 30 cm long on erect stipes (stalks) between 20 and 50 cm high. 
The stipeses have pale brown scales and hairs.
It is found in many parts of the country and in many areas it is only found at higher altitudes. Its habitat is dry areas, open forest and roadside banks.

Photographed  Egmont National Park.

Photographed on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing at an elevation of 1500 m.


Top surface of a frond.


Underside of frond



Photos below of young fern spreading its fronds.