P. S. Green Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, tw9 3AB, England

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Common in open areas and neglected pastures.

N.Is.: Mt Bates, P.Ralston 57 (NSW); s. loc., M.Burgess NI 12 (CBG); s. loc., A.Cunningham 36 & 61 (K).

1Doubtful record

Microlepia speluncae (L.) T.Moore was recorded from Norfolk Is. under the name Davallia flaccida R.Br. by F.J.H. von Mueller (Fragm. 5: 118, 1866) and under the name Dicksonia davallioides R.Br. by G.Bentham (Fl. Austral. 7: 713, 1878). J.H.Maiden included the record under the name Dennstaedtia davallioides (R.Br.) T.Moore in his 'Flora of Norfolk Island' (Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 28: 737, 1904), attributing the record to G.Bentham, but R.M.Laing intentionally omitted it from his 'Revised List of Norfolk Island Plants' (Trans. & Proc. New Zealand Inst. 47: 9, 1915). There are, however, two specimens in the Kew Herbarium (both Oct./Dec, 1849, C.J.Simmons s.n.) which bear the annotation 'Norfolk Island' and were at one time named Dicksonia polypodioides Sw., a synonym of Microlepia speluncae. This species has not been recorded from Norfolk Is. by any other collector and it is most likely that these two specimens, bearing so little data, were mislabelled as having come from the Island.


P.S.GreenRoyal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, England

Although Lindsaea linearis Sw. was recorded from Norfolk Is. by G.Bentham (Fl. Austral. 7: 717, 1878) and, from its general distribution in Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, might be expected on the Island, there is no specimen to support the record in the Kew Herbarium where Bentham worked. It has never been recorded since and its occurrence on the Island must be doubted.


P.S.GreenRoyal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, England

Terrestrial or epiphytic ferns. Rhizome short or long creeping, with clathrate scales. Stipes not articulated. Fronds simple or 1–2-pinnate, rarely to 4-pinnate, glabrous or with minute hairs. Sori elongate, with narrow, linear indusia attached to veins.

A cosmopolitan family of 1 large genus (Asplenium) and c. 7 smaller ones, totalling c. 750 species; 1 genus native on both islands.


Sp. Pl. 2: 1078(1753)
Gen. Pl. 5th edn, 485 (1754); the name of a plant in Dioscorides, from the Greek a, in this case said to be euphonic, and splen (the spleen), in reference to the plant's traditional herbal virtues in afflictions of the spleen

Type: A. marinum L.

Rhizome creeping or short and erect, covered with dark brown clathrate scales. Veins usually free. Sori along 1 side of veins.

A worldwide genus of perhaps 700 species; 2 species on both islands, 3 species endemic on Lord Howe Is., and 2 species (1 native, 1 endemic) on Norfolk Is.

Notable throughout its range for frequent inter-specific hybridisation.

G.Bentham, Filices, Asplenium, Fl. Austral. 7: 742–752 (1878); P.J.Brownsey, New Zealand J. Bot. 15: 39–86 (1977); P.S.Green, Kew Bull. 43: 649–651 (1988).

1 Fronds simple (irregularly divided and margin cristate in f. robinsonii) (N.Is., L.H.Is.)

1. A. australasicum

1: Fronds compound

2 Sterile and fertile fronds very different, with segments of fertile fronds linear, 1–2 mm broad, those of sterile fronds 10–20 mm broad, bipinnatisect or bipinnate

7. A. dimorphum

2: Sterile and fertile fronds similar

3 Divisions of fronds usually simply pinnate

4 Pinna margins shallowly toothed

5 Serrations of pinna margins acute; pinnae (2–) 5–15 cm long; rachis and costae below with scattered, small, dark brown scales; fronds pinnate (L.H.Is.)

2. A. milnei

5: Serrations of pinna margins blunt; pinnae 1–5 (–10) cm long; rachis and costae glabrous; some fronds usually bipinnate (N.Is.)

3. A. difforme

4: Pinna margins deeply cut or prominently doubly serrate

6 Margins of pinnae regularly and deeply divided, with apices of lobes c. 3–4 mm apart; pinnae elongate, oblong-lanceolate, ±equally broad up to middle before narrowing to an acute apex (L.H.Is.)

4. A. surrogatum

6: Margins of pinnae variously cut to an acute angle to costae, with apices of lobes c. 10 mm apart; pinnae lanceolate to very narrowly lanceolate, widest at base, gradually narrowing towards the very long-acute apex (N.Is., L.H.Is.)

5. A. polyodon

3: Divisions of fronds 2- or 3-pinnate

7 Rachis, costae, costules and lamina glabrous; pinnae and upper half of rachis narrowly winged; sori all marginal (L.H.Is.)

6. A. pteridoides

7: Rachis, costae, costules and lamina with occasional, usually very narrow, clathrate scales; pinnae and upper half of rachis not winged; sori on lamina or marginal (N.Is.)

3. A. difforme

australasicum(J.Sm.) Hook.
Fil. Exot. t. 88(1859)

Neottopteris australasica J.Sm., Cult. Ferns 49 (1857).T: cultivated at Kew, origin Australia, J.Smith; holo: ?BM n.v. Named after Australia, to which it is native.

[Asplenium nidus auct. non L.: S.F.L.Endlicher, Prodr. Fl. Norfolk. 9 (1833); W.J.Hooker & J.G.Baker, Syn. Fil. 2nd edn, 190 (1874); R.M.Laing, Trans. & Proc. New Zealand Inst. 47: 11 (1915); W.R.B.Oliver, Trans. & Proc. New Zealand Inst. 49: 121 (1917)]

[Thamnopteris nidus auct. non (L.) C.Presl: C.B.Presl, Abh. Bohm. Ges. Wiss. V 6 (Epimel. Bot. 68): 428 (1851), p.p.]

Illustrations: D.L.Jones, Encycl. Ferns 225 (1987); S.B.Andrews, Ferns Queensland 54, fig. 4.3B (1990); P.G.Wilson in G.J.Harden, Fl. New South Wales 1: 54, t. 5 (1990).

Epiphytic or lithophytic fern. Rhizome stout, erect, with a rosette of fronds at apex; scales dark brown. Fronds ascending; stipe 1–5 cm long, almost black; lamina simple, or crisped and/or irregularly cut, to c. 1.5 m long, 20 cm broad, broadest just above middle; midrib strongly and acutely keeled on lower surface; veins forked, connected to a submarginal vein. Sori linear, 3–6 cm long.

Dock (N.Is.), Bird's Nest Fern.

Two forms are recognised.

Fronds simple; not proliferating

1a. f. australasicum

Fronds crisped and/or irregularly and deeply cut; rarely proliferating

1b. f. robinsonii

australasicum(J.Sm.) Hook. f. australasicum

Fronds simple, ascending; stipe 1–5 cm long; lamina to 1.5 m long, 20 cm broad, broadest just above middle; not proliferating.

Norfolk Is., Lord Howe Is. Becoming uncommon on Norfolk Is. because of removal into gardens. This form is also known from Australia (Qld and northern N.S.W.), Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga and Tahiti.

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