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


Wheki-ponga (Dicksonia fibrosa)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Cyatheales
Family: Dicksoniaceae
Genus: Dicksonia
Species: Dicksonia fibrosa
Common names: Woolly Tree Fern, Woolen tree fern, Kuripaka, Wheki-ponga, Jade green tree fern, Golden tree fern

Dicksonia fibrosa is the slowest growing of the tree ferns (height up to 6 m) and is endemic. North, South, Stewart, and Chatham islands. Uncommon north of the Waikato River and the Coromandel Peninsula. It habits is forested situations from coastal to montane areas.
The fibrous trunk of Dicksonia fibrosa grows up to 60cm in diameter. and can be up to 10 m tall. The fibrous truck is much thicker and the fronds are much lighter than Dicksonia squarrosa. Most of the bulk of the stout trunks is made up of interwoven wiry roots. As the old fronds wither they simply hang down from the trunk like a skirt, this is important as these dead fronds protect the tree fern from drying out. The mature fronds are 2 metres long.

The Maoris use to hew off wide slabs of the fibrous matter and utilise them in the building of food stores. This material is durable and is a bar to rats, which do not seem able to gnaw through it.

This fern is growing in Pukekura Park New Plymouth on the path to the fernery.
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A juvenile plant






Top surface of frond


The under surface of a young frond