Art. XXVIII.—On newly-discovered and imperfectly-known Ferns of New Zealand, with Critical Observations.
[Read before the Hawke's Bay, Philosophical Institute, 11th July, 1887.]
Genus 1.* Gleichenia, Smith.
1. G. patens, sp. nov.
Plant erect, about 3–4 feet high (from specimens received). Rhizome creeping (apparently epigæous), very long (in specimens 2 feet or more), rather slender, 1 ½ lines diameter and of uniform thickness, pretty straight, rarely branched, light reddish-brown (as also stipe), roughish (sub-muricate); scales few, scattered, broadly ovate-cordate, reticulate, coarsely fimbriate; rootlets numerous, wiry, branched, 1–3 inches long, descending from under-surface only at irregular distances, ½–1 inch apart, single and in bunches of 2–3, resembling nodal rootlets. Stipes about 2 feet apart on rhizome, 2–3 feet long, dry, slender, uniform, cylindrical, about 1 line diameter, hollow with a central pith, straight and sub-flexuous, smooth, shining, 2-branched at top, these two main branches opposite, squarrose, spreading, with a large bud in their axil (also in the axils of the secondary branches), and 4 pinnæ at their bases, 2 up and 2 down. Frond large, spreading, dichotomous, distantly branched at almost right angles; branches and branchlets very slender, sub-bipinnate, light-red-brown; rhachis and sub-rhachises thickly covered with dark-brown adpressed scales (similar to those on rhizome), their fimbriæ or stout hairs patent, rigid, dark, wavy, acute; branchlets sub-linear-ovate or linear-oblong, 5–6 (sometimes 8–9) inches long, 2–3 inches wide, ultimate branchlets forked, imparipinnate. Pinnæ petiolulate, free, linear not acuminate, 1–½ inches long, 1–2 lines wide, bright green above, a little paler below, glabrous, patent and sub-falcate, symmetrical, very distant, 2–3 lines apart and alternate on rhachis, 3–5 lines apart opposite and sub-opposite on secondary branches, sometimes, though rarely, 2 together, and sometimes forked; midrib truncate, or with a smaller oblique lobe at apex; lobes distinct, cut to rhachis, alternate, close at bases but
[Footnote] * The numbers attached to the orders and genera in this paper are those of them in the “Handbook, Flora of New Zealand.”
divergent at tips, presenting a zig-zag appearance, the lowest pair opposite larger and more distant, semi-elliptic or sub-quadrilateral, with top rounded, apiculate, flat margins not recurved when fresh, membranaceous, full of minute pellucid dots when held up between the eye and light; veins pinnate, sub-flexuous. Sori few, scattered, a single sorus on a lobe on the middle of anterior veinlet nearer margin than midrib, mostly containing 2 capsules, often only 1, more rarely 3. Capsules sessile, globular, pale, shining, superficial.
Hab. Near to hot springs at Wairakei, Taupo; 1887: Mr. C. J. Norton.
Obs. I. This species is closely allied to another of our New Zealand species, G. punctulata, Col.,* which, however, is a much smaller plant; also, but much less so, to two Australian species, G. microphylla, Br., and G. circinata, Sw.; (this latter species, however, is said by several botanists—Sir J. D. Hooker, Baker, and Bentham—to be one with Brown's plant). The species here described differs from them all in several particulars, some of which are grave characters; especially in its plane soft membranaceous and truncate pinnæ, which are also almost unicoloured, with apiculate lobules, in the paucity of capsules in a sorus, and in its highly peculiar fimbriate scales.
II. Swartz has given a very clear and full description of his typical G. circinata in his “Synopsis Filicum,” from which work (as I think it is very rare here among us) I extract a brief portion, viz.:—“G. Circinata: pinnæ sessiles lineares sub-filiformes rigidulæ: pinnulæ” (lobes), “sub-coadunatæ semi-rotundæ, minutæ, convexæ, subtus concavæ, costaque pubescentes: sori ex capsulis sæpissime quatuor in foveola margini sub-immersis;” and, again:—“Obs. Distinguitur a G. polypodioide pinnis longioribus pubescentia notabili et soris plerumque ex quatuor capsulis compositis.” (loc. cit. p. 394.)
III. To any observant person, whether botanist or not, acquainted with the more common forms of our New Zealand Gleicheniæ of this section—as G. hecistophylla, G. dicarpa, G. alpina, etc.—the striking difference between them and this species is apparent at first sight on seeing this fern, indeed there is but little ground of close comparison between it and them. I have received many specimens of this fern from its discoverer, in different stages of growth, to examine, and find them uniform in their characters; and having given it a long, repeated, and exhaustive examination, (aided largely by correct drawings with dissections of the allied species, supra,) I feel convinced that it is a truly distinct species.
[Footnote] * “Trans. N.Z. Institute,” vol. xvii., p. 345. See also my general observations there.
IV. Mr. Norton informs me, by letter, that he has seen specimens of this fern in its native habitat “8–10 feet long;” and I also find from him that it is impatient of cold, “dying down in the winter;” owing, no doubt, to its more delicate membranaceous fronds, a character which is also rare in this genus.
Genus 4. Dicksonia, L'Héretier.
1. D. microcarpa, sp. nov.
Plant arborescent, caudex erect, 6–7 feet high, stout, 1 foot diameter, pretty nearly equal throughout, the outside composed of a closely compacted mass of fine brown rootlets, their surface even not shaggy nor ragged; at the upper portion under the crown of living fronds are the remains of a few old broken stipites. Fronds 30 or more, patent, a little drooping with their tips generally upcurved, sub-tripinnate, narrow lanceolate, 4 ½ feet long including short stipes, 1 foot broad at the widest part, sub-membranaceous-coriaceous, glabrous and somewhat glossy on upper surface, grass-green above, paler below; rhachis and sub-rhachises very hairy on both surfaces; hairs short, weak, flexuous, jointed, sub-glandular, brownish-grey. Stipes short, 2–3 inches long, succulent, very hairy; hairs dense, 1 ½ inches long, patent, fine, jointed, glossy, red. Pinnæ 45–48-jugate, alternate, sub-ovate-lanceolate, 5–6 inches long, 1 ¼–1 ½ inches wide, very acuminate, tips exceedingly long and slender, recurved, falcate, the middle ones close about 1 inch apart on rhachis, overlapping, the apical free, narrow, and simple, the ultimate pinna very long, narrow, and serrate, the basal pinnæ distant, small, decreasing gradually in size to base. Pinnules close, not crowded, symmetrical, attenuate, the lower pair overlapping rhachis above, sub-linear-lanceolate, acuminate, acute, ¾ inch long, broadest at base, and there ¼ inch wide; the midrib hairy half-way from base. Segments 8-jugate, small, subovate-deltoid, serrate, acute, 1–2 lower pairs pinnate, petiolulate, midrib flexuous, margins recurved when dry. Veins few, prominent below, pinnate, generally 3 pairs (sometimes 4 on one side), simple, rarely forked, red, translucent. Sori small, globose, biseriate, usually 4 on the larger segments at tips of veins, sometimes 3, 2, or only 1, extending to the utmost tips of pinnules and pinnæ; capsules shortly pedicelled, the joints of the ring very prominent, close, and dark-coloured; sporules bright-yellow, sub-orbicular-deltoid, obtuse. Involucre globular, 2-valved; the outer valve formed from apex of serrature of segment, the margin scarious, thin; the inner valve scarious; margins entire.
Hab. Forests south of Danneverke, County of Waipawa 1887: W.C.
Obs. This species has a pleasing appearance living, from the graceful airiness and softness and light-green colour of its rather small fronds, reminding the beholder, at first sight, of another arborescent fern of those forests, Hemitelia smithii, Hook. fil. (Like some other of our ferns it, unfortunately, loses its pleasing green colour in drying.) It approaches D. fibrosa, Col., more nearly than it does D. squarrosa, Swartz; but it is still more nearly allied to D. sparmanniana, Col.,* and to D. gracilis, Col.,† differing however from both in its smaller and much narrower fronds and segments, and also from D. sparmanniana in being arborescent, and in its very small sori and involucres; and from D. gracilis in the great difference in its caudex, and in its veins, sori, and involucres being scarcely half the number of those of that species on a segment, as well as in several other particulars. Hitherto I have not met with many plants of this species in the forests.
Genus 11. Adiantum, Linn.
1. A. polymorphum, sp. nov.
Plant small, gregarious, cæspitose in small tufts, each one usually consisting of 3 living fronds that are sub-erect but often deflexed from base of frond. Root-stock small, about ½ inch, composed of several broken purple-brown stipites; roots fibrous, hairy. Fronds very membranaceous almost translucent, glabrous, grass-green, sub-linear-ovate, attenuate, simple pinnate (in their normal state), 2–3 inches long, broadest at base and there ¾–1 inch wide; pinnæ 8–12-jugate, alternate, free, close and distant, somewhat semi-orbicular, the anterior margin much arcuate, the lower margin arched nearly to correspond, apex rounded, base sub-truncate or excised in a curve and so imbricating rhachis at the upper angle; the superior and apical margins of pinnæ largely crenate-lobed; lobes rounded, every alternate sinus deeper and bearing a sorus distant from outer margin of pinna, every pinna usually soriferous, and decreasing gradually in size to apex, all petiolate, the dark petiole extending a short distance into the pinna at lower basal margin, the upper pinnæ are sometimes quadrilateral; the lowest pair of pinnæ much the largest, each pinna ½ inch long by ¼ inch broad; the terminal lobe small, rhomboid, obtuse, sometimes bearing an involucre at the extreme tip. Veins branched, dichotomous, free, rather distant, flabellate in smaller pinnæ and at base of larger pinna, the principal vein parallel with and close to the lower margin, branches unilateral; apices of barren veins curving over involucre on both sides between it and the margin of pinna. Involucres large, distant, orbicular or sub-reniformcordate, flat, closely appressed, white with broad wrinkled
[Footnote] * “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” vol. xii., p. 363.
[Footnote] † “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” vol. xv. p. 306.
margins, 5–6 on a large pinna (sometimes, but rarely, 8–9 on the lowest), extending quite round the apex to its lowest corner 2–3 on the smaller pinnæ; the sinus at first narrow-linear, then circular, in the centre of involucre. Stipes generally longer than frond, 3–5 inches, very slender, almost capillary, wiry, sub-angular, dry, brittle, glossy, dark-purple (as also rhachis and petioles), with a few short linear obtuse brown scales near base.
Sometimes a frond is met with bearing a small pinnate branchlet at its base, having 2–5 pairs of pinnæ, same as those on main rhachis but much smaller; and occasionally a frond is found with two such divergent branchlets, but smaller still at its base. I have also a specimen with two long forked branchlets forming a fork at tip of rhachis, as well as two others at base of the frond, and thus having four branchlets besides its ordinary main rhachis. Sometimes the lowest pair of pinnæ are large and irregular in shape, sub 3-lobed, and sometimes largely reniform.
Hab. On the ground at a steep declivity, forming a small bed or patch, and very closely growing together, in a thick wood south of Danneverke, County of Waipawa; May, 1887: W.C. (Not noticed anywhere else.)
Obs. I. It is difficult to fix the near affinities of this interesting little species among our known New Zealand Adiantæ; it has certainly a family resemblance, but that is common to the whole of them. Its nearest ally is A. diaphanum, Bl., a Java and Manilla fern (judging from description and drawing of that fern as given by Sir W. J. Hooker, “Sp. Filicum,” vol. ii., p. 10, tab. 80), but that species differs from this one in several particulars; that one being of larger size, with differently shaped, hairy, darker colour, and obscure pinnæ, small crowded involucres, etc. Sir W. J. Hooker, has also stated (l.c.) that the specimen he had there figured is an authentic type specimen of that species given to him by Dr. Blume, its discoverer.
That fern (A. diaphanum) is also said by Bentham* to be found in Queensland, New South Wales, and New Zealand; but I have never met with it growing, though lately I received some specimens of the plant from the interior, which agree well with Sir W. J. Hooker's description and figure. Bentham's description of it, however, differs widely from Hooker's description and figures. And I also notice, that Bentham there includes one of our well-known and common New Zealand Adiantæ—A. affine, Hook., not Willd.†—with Blume's A. diaphanum, as being identical with it! Baker, also,‡ says the same—viz., that the New
[Footnote] * “Flora. Austral.,” vol. vii., p. 725.
[Footnote] † “Sp. Fil.,” vol. ii., p. 32.
[Footnote] ‡ “Syn. Fil., p. 117.
Zealand fern, A. affine of Hook. = A. setulosum, J. Sm., is identical with A. diaphanum of Blume.
Be that as it may, those two ferns (A. diaphanum and A. setulosum) are very distinct from this little Adiantum here described.
2. A. tuberosum, sp. nov.
Plant very small, weak, sub-erect, gregarious, cæspitose in small tufts, 1 ½–2 (rarely 3) inches high; rhizome creeping, pubescent, tuberous (also the numerous long and slender branched rootlets) with many little brown oblong and obovoid tubers singly scattered, each producing a single frond. Stipe 1–2 inches, capillary, somewhat flexuous, sub-angular, smooth, glossy, red-brown (as also rhachis and petioles), with a few small narrow acute scales at base. Frond simple, narrow oblongovate, 1–1 ½ (rarely 2) inches long, 5–8 lines broad at base, pinnate, mostly 5- (sometimes 7-) jugate; pinnæ alternate, distant, sub-reniform-quadrilateral, petiolate, spreading, dull green, glabrous, superior margin slightly arched, the inferior less so, nearly straight; apex broadly rounded; base slightly excised; sometimes the bases of a pair of pinnæ are imbricate; the lowest pair generally larger and sub-deflexed; the upper pinnæ subcuneate; the terminal one large 4-sided, obtuse; minutely and closely dotted (sub lente) with very short reddish-brown pubescence (or sub-papillose scurf) on the middle and basal portions of pinnæ under surface; margins toothed-serrate, irregularly sub-lobed. Veins distant, dichotomous, dark, coarse, rather prominent, reaching to margins and forming acute teeth. Sori few, small, distant, irregular, mostly 2–4, sometimes 5, on a pinna, very rarely 6–7 on the lowest and largest one, extending round apex, distant from margin and the margin deeply crenate; the terminal pinna bearing 4–6 sori. Involucre reniform and sub-reniform-orbicular, at first white and closely appressed, brown contracted and sub-revolute in age; sinus very large and broad.
Hab. Woods near Ormondville, County of Waipawa: Mr. A. Hamilton.
Obs. This species is pretty closely allied to the preceding one, but differs in several important characters. At first sight I supposed it might be a still smaller state of that plant, but a close examination with plenty of good living specimens in all stages has convinced me of it being distinct. It is a much smaller plant, of a simple unvarying form, with a different habit of growth; the several distinct tufts of fronds closely arising from the hypogæous rhizome resemble a broad fringe; its tuberous rhizome and rootlets is a peculiar and rather strange character; the pinnaæ are thicker, duller and of a different shape with sharply toothed margins; veins coarse, dark, and prominent; the ultimate pinna large and bearing sori all round on its four sides; sori few and distant; involucre smaller and brown.
3. A. affine, Willd., var. heterophyllum, Col.
Plant pale green, sub-erect, 10–14 inches high, forming large tufts. Stipes 6–8 inches long, slender, dry, smooth, glossy, and dark-red-brown (as also are the rhachis and stipes of pinnæ), flexuous, sub-angular above semi-terete below, with a few short hairs at base. Frond bipinnate, sub-ovate-acuminate, 5–7 inches long, few branched below; branches simply pinnate, their tips crested, spreading in 2–3 short and close branchlets, each with a large and broad 2–3-lobed laciniate and toothed ultimate pinna. Pinnæ very irregular, large and small mixed, of various sizes and shapes, narrow cultriform with obtuse tips, and sub-cuneate, 2–9 lines long, 1–2 ½ lines broad, the lower margin entire and curved upwards at tip, the upper laciniate and toothed, teeth white; stipitate, stipes capillary, rather long. Sori small, few (1–2–5) and rather distant on a pinna, on the upper margin only. Involucre orbicular-cordate, pale flecked with brown dashes, dark brown in age, shining, turgid; sinus narrow.
Hab. On limestone crags at Moteo, Puketapu District, near Napier; 1885: Mr. A. Hamilton.
Obs. This is a curious and rather neat-shaped little fern, apparently a variety only of our more common Adiantum; though some of its characters (apart from the crested tips of its rhachis and branches) may prove to be distinct and grave enough to make it a good species. I have seen and examined several specimens, and find them pretty uniform in character, while varying a little in size.
Genus 15. Pteris, Linn.
§ 2. Litobrochia.
1. P. (L.) pendula, sp. nov.
Plant cæspitose, of 4–6 fronds; caudex very short, scarcely any, composed of old stipites; roots numerous, fibrous, long, slender, spreading. Frond pendulous, broadly deltoid, 10–12 (rarely 14) inches long, membranaceous, glabrous, shining, but filled with minute sub-rugulose dots, flaccid, flat, green; rhachis straight, pale stramineous, bipinnate (the larger specimens tripinnate below); ultimate pinna of frond very long (3–5 inches), narrow-ovate- or lanceolate-acuminate, segments opposite 7–10-jugate, very distant and decurrent (which decurrence is sometimes continued down to below the third pair of pinnæ from base), the tip very narrow acuminate-caudate; pinnæ opposite, few, 4–6 pairs, distant, spreading, ovate-acuminate, their rhachises straight; petioles slender, the three lower pairs about ½ inch long; pinnules alternate, distant, ovate-acuminate; 2–2 ½ inch long, 3–4 pairs on each secondary rhachis, the lowest (or lowest 2) on rather long and slender petioles, the upper
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pairs sessile, decurrent, the terminal one very acuminate, often caudate; segments large, open, not crowded, spreading, mostly 5 (sometimes 6–7) pairs, opposite and regular, their margins and apices coarsely and deeply incised; the lowest pair free, narrow, oblong, largely pinnatifid, base cuneate; the upper ones deltoid, broad, (their tips sometimes largely and irregularly bilobed,) their anterior margins almost straight, sometimes subfalcate, their bases largely decurrent; apices obtuse, sometimes bifid; sinuses narrow; veins few, distant, clear, the basal veins free, with 6–7 long narrow areoles on each side of midrib of pinnule (generally from costule to costule), and 4–5 areoles on each side of costule of segment, and both extending nearly to tips; the outer veins free, forked, and branched to margins; sometimes a single second-series areole is formed between the costule areoles and outer free veins in the broader segments. Stipes 7–9 inches long, rather slender, glabrous, shining, channelled above, straw-coloured and dark-brown towards base, with a few scattered scales below. Scales dark-brown, subulate, 3 ½ lines long, ½ line broad at base, very acuminate, tip produced and truncate, margin flexuous, netted, cells large longitudinal sub-parallelogramic, walls dark and double, with oval and round dark (stomate-like) bodies scattered in them. Sori in short narrow lines (and dots) on central margins of segments both sides, not at sinus nor near tips, the upper half of segment generally barren; sometimes the sori are more continuous on the upper decurrent wings on the main rhachis. Involucre whitish, exceedingly narrow, 1/50th inch wide (soon becoming reverted and hidden by the sori), delicate, pellucid, very curiously reticulated, the cells large with exceedingly fine and tortuous margins; margins of involucre entire, very slightly sinuous. Sporangia broadly obovate, sub-sessile, dark-brown, bursting in the middle, and so separating into two cups, their membrane pellucid, reticulated. Sporules triquetrous, angles obtuse, dark-brown, roughish; margins entire with a double line and transverse bands.
Hab. Ever shaded wet-dripping gravelly cliffs (among other ferns and shrubs), banks of a stream south of Danneverke Township, County of Waipawa; 1887: W.C.
Obs. I. This species of fern is nearest to our endemic New Zealand fern Pteris (Litobrochia) macilenta, A. Richard, but differs from it in several particulars—as habit, size, and outline of frond, and shape of pinnæ, pinnules, and segments; in its lobes being wholly and largely incised, the terminal ones being excessively narrow and caudate; its veins much more anastomosing and also branched; its lines of sori smaller and more scattered, and their involucres being very much narrower and of a different substance.
II. It is not, however, without some hesitation that I bring forward this handsome fern as a new species; and I only do so after long and close examination of several specimens, including whole tufts of living plants. Of all our known New Zealand ferns (as I have already said) this one is more nearly allied to Pteris (Litobrochia) macilenta. Fortunately I possess the full history of that fern, including the fine folio engraving of the type specimen, together with the ample original description of it given by its describer, A. Richard;* and of that engraving Sir W. J. Hooker remarks (in his more fully describing Pteris (Litobrochia) macilenta): “Richard's figure faithfully represents the frond.”† Indeed, had I not Richard's figure and description, supported as they are by Sir W. J. Hooker, I do not think I should care to describe this fern as a new species, through my not having at hand a genuine specimen of Pteris macilenta. There is, however, a very great amount of difference between Richard's figure and this new plant; as is also further shown in his specific description of Pteris macilenta, some of which I shall quote to demonstrate how much it disagrees with that of this fern, for I suppose his botanical work containing it is but little known here among us:—“Frondibus bipinnatis … pinnulis paucioribus distantibus oblongis pinnatifidis; laciniis integris aut apice inciso-dentatis glabris, membranaceis; indusiis membranaceis margine continuis” (l.c.). And, in his further “observations” upon the newly-discovered plant, he goes on to say: “Cette espèce est bien remarquable par son port, qui la distingue au premier coup-d'-œil de toutes les autres espèces du genre, et qui la rapprocherait plutôt de certaines espèces de Lindsœa. Ses frondes sont longues d'environ un pied et demi, et měme deux pieds, et composées d'un trés-petit nombre de folioles écartées les unes des autres, et plus ou moins profondément pinnatifides. Les divisions de ces pinnules sont ou entières ou irrégulièrement dentées a leur sommet, constamment trèsglabres.” (l.c.)
III. A. Cunningham, in his “Precursor of New Zealand Botany,”‡ quotes entire, with apparent approval, Richard's specific description, and that without any addition of his own, A. Cunningham having also detected this fern at the north, “in dry woods at Whangaroa,” in 1827; and, subsequently, his brother, R. Cunningham, “in similar situations in that locality, in 1834.”
IV. Sir W. J. Hooker also, in his more fully and specifically describing Pteris (Litob.) macilenta, says: “. . pinnæ and pinnules remote alternate, ultimate pinnules small (1–3 inches) ovate
[Footnote] * “Voyage de L'Astrolabe: Botanique,” p. 82.
[Footnote] † “Species Filicum,” vol. ii., p. 220.
[Footnote] ‡ “Companion, Botanical Magazine,” vol. ii., p. 365.
or deltoid, cuneate at the base petiolate, pinnatifid, terminal ones elongate acuminate, lobes oblong or ovate acute, coarsely inciso-serrate at the apex, basal veins forming a single arc and 2 or 3 large areoles on each side of the costule of the segments, the rest of the veins free;” and again, he says, “the pinnules are small, and there are but few areoles, and those confined to the costa and costule (not extending to the apex of the latter), the rest of the veins are free.” (l.c.)
V. Sir J. D. Hooker also, says, in his greatly enlarged specific description of Pt. (Litob.) macilenta,* “Venis rarius furcatis nunc basi anastomosantibus. Soris sinubis latis continuis;” and, further on, “pinnules … the lobes oblong, sharp, sharply coarsely toothed towards the tip. Sori continuous in the hollows.” And in his still later work (“Handbook N.Z. Flora,” p. 364), he says, “Costa flexuous, pinnules scattered . . ovate-oblong, veins forked, netted towards their base only. Sori in the notches broad.” And this statement of his, twice repeated, viz., “soris sinubis latis continuis;” and, “sori in the notches broad;” agrees not only with Richard's figure, but most particularly so with his magnified dissections of the sori and their broad involucre covering them. And to this may also be added Baker's remark on this fern, “Rhachis flexuose, veins fine, not anastomosing much except the costal arches.” (“Synops. Fil.,” p. 171.)
I have observed (supra) that this fern, Pteris (Lit.) pendula, is more nearly allied to Pt. (Lit.) macilenta, of all our New Zealand ferns. It is, however, also pretty closely allied to Pt. (Lit.) endlicheriana; and so serving, as it were, as an intermediary to unite in a still more natural sequence the New Zealand and South Pacific ferns of the Litobrochia section of the Pteris genus. I may further notice that this fern is also very near to the Campteria section of that large genus, from which it only difrers in its outer veins being branched as well as forked; while its excessively narrow involucre allies it equally with the Platyloma section of the closely allied and scarcely distinct genus Pellœa: indeed, it seems in all its characters to unite all four sections, Eupteris, Campteria, and Litobrochia, of the genus Pteris, together with Platyloma of Pellœa.
Having stated this, I may also quote here a similar observation made by Sir “W. J. Hooker on another of our New Zealand ferns and its compound venation, Pt. incisa, viz.: “We shall find that one well-known species (Pt. incisa) unites in itself three kinds of venation, that of true Pteris, of Campteria, and Litobrochia; and other spècies present quite intermediate characters.” (“Sp. Fil.,” vol. ii., p. 207.)
My mentioning Pt. incisa reminds me of what A. Richard had also said of that fern, in his original description of Pt.
[Footnote] * “Flora N.Z.,” vol. ii., p. 26.
macilenta (already in part quoted, supra), viz.: “Cette espèce s'approche un peu du Pteris vespertilionis de M. Labillardière,* mais néanmoins elle en est fort distincte.” (l.c.) This observation of his is the more valuable here, inasmuch as he had just before said of Pt. macilenta that at first sight it more resembled a species of Lindsœa than one of the genus Pleris (supra). And why so? What was it in particular that called forth that double remark, as it were, at that one time respecting this fern, Pt. macilenta? I only know of one striking character (or, at most, two) that could have led to it—viz., the lobes being large with their margins entire, and the involucre broad and continuous. The figure of Pt. vespertilionis, as given in Labillardière's large work,† now before me, (which very likely Richard had also before him at the time of his writing,) bears out this supposition, as the lobes of the pinnules are all remarkably entire and free from the least amount of incision or denticulation, not having any even at their tips.
In conclusion, I may further mention that I have noted the very much larger size of Pt. macilenta (“5 feet high”) as given by Hook. f. and Baker, when compared with that given by Richard; but I may say that I have also seen such large specimens of Pt. macilenta in the dry woods at the north; yet, while possessing such very much larger fronds, it still preserved its peculiarly distinctive and striking characters of small ovate and distant pinnules: which unique specific appearance had caused Sir W. J. Hooker to say respecting it: “It were a great blessing if all Pterises were as distinct as this. It is difficult to say which are its near affinities.” (l.c., p. 220.)
Genus 16. Lomaria, Willdenow.
1. L. paucijuga, sp. nov.
Plant small; caudex (specimen, a top broken off) ascending, 1 inch long, hard and woody, as thick as a common lead pencil, with several old stipites and scales on it below the living fronds. Fronds (4, all sterile,) sub-opposite, or tufted, erect, equal, uniform; lamina herbaceous, olive-green, ovate, sub-acuminate, 3 inches long, 1 ½ inches broad, pinnatifid; lobes, 4–5 pairs, short, opposite, oblong, 9 lines long, 5 lines broad, very obtuse, spreading, rugulose, close and slightly overlapping, glabrous (not glossy) on upper surface, largely and finely pilose on under-surface and on rhachis; hairs hyaline, jointed; margined, puckered, much veined; veins conspicuous, branched, extending
[Footnote] * This fern is, more recently, said to be identical with Pt. incisa of Thunberg, an earlier discovered African and Indian fern; hence the priority of that name.
[Footnote] † “Novæ-Hollandiæ Plant. Spec.,” vol. ii., tab. 245.
to margin, clavate, red; margins white, cartilaginous and recurved, undulate and slightly crenulate-denticulate, closely ciliate; the lowest pair of lobes cut nearly to rhachis and shorter than the pair above them, and much broader in the lower basal portion, which is cordate sub-auricled and divergent; the upper lobes cut about half-way to rhachis; the terminal lobe large, broad, sub-ovate-acuminate, the base once crenately lobed, tip truncate. Stipes 3 inches long, channelled (also rhachis), flexuous; the upper part very slender, almost filiform, straw-coloured, finely hairy, hairs patent; the lower portion much compressed, flat, dark-brown, sub-scaberulous. Scales subulate-lanceolate, much acuminate, ¾ inch long, red-brown, glossy, finely striate; margins slightly and distantly denticulate; cells numerous, linear-oblong.
Hab. Sides of Mount Tongariro, County of East Taupo; 1887: Messrs. Owen and Hill.
Obs. This species is peculiar, inasmuch as it is scarcely allied (or, if so, not closely) to any one of our known New Zealand species of this genus, including also the Australian ones with those of the neighbouring islands. In its soft herbaceous texture it approaches L. nigra; in its pilose character (slightly) L. vulcanica; in the position and shape of its lobes (but again only very lightly) L. discolor; perhaps its nearest ally is L. vulcanica, but from that species it differs considerably in several characters—as in size, colour, texture, cutting and shape of frond and lobes (particularly the lower pair of lobes and the terminal ones), in venation which is much branched throughout, especially in the terminal lobe, (and this character alone is a rather unusual one in this genus, although it obtains in a lesser degree in L. nigra,) and in its slender compressed stipe, and red-brown (not “black”) scales. Unfortunately a fruitful frond has not been seen, and my only specimen appears to have been broken off at some distance above ground, being quite clean and free from earthy particles.
2. L. aggregata, sp. nov.
Rhizome (underground) long, 2–3 inches or more, narrow, woody. Root-stock (above ground) 1–2 inches, with many stipites and numerous blackish subulate scales; rootlets brown, long, fibrous, hairy, much branched; several perfect plants growing in separate tufts or heads from one root-stock. Plant small, tufted; fronds erect, spreading, 4–6 inches high, linear-lanceolate, pinnate, membranaceous, glabrous, green inclining to pale; stipes various lengths, ½–1 inch (sometimes, but rarely, 3 inches), very slender, channelled, minutely and thickly papillose, reddish-brown, scaly below at bases: sterile frond 3–5 inches long, 6–9 lines wide, pinnato - pinnatifid, the green lamina completely severed to rhachis (merely the extremely narrow
white sub-cartilaginous translucent margin remaining, and so throughout); segments alternate sometimes opposite, free but close, sinuses broad, broadly oblong, (sometimes broadly deltoid, the upper margin horizontal, and apex very obtuse,) 2–4 lines long, sessile with a broad base extended upwards and decurrent, tips rounded; the lower segments small and semi-orbicular, sometimes narrow lunate; the terminal lobe ovate, obtuse; margins entire, slightly sinuate, narrowly cartilaginous, minutely and sharply serrulate (sub lente) at tips of veins with 2–3–4 microscopical teeth close together; midrib not extending to tips; veins few, pinnate, 4–5-jugate, simple and forked, extending to margins, slightly clavate: fertile frond, 2 inches shorter and narrower, the stipe usually longer, pinnæ few, alternate and opposite, 2–3 lines long, narrow-linear, much falcate or curved upwards, distant, sessile, and largely decurrent on rhachis; tips obtuse and mucronate; the ultimate lobe long and very narrow. Involucre narrow, not extending to tips, at first incurved, afterwards recurved and everted, margin entire. Sori brown, profuse, covering midrib and rhachis also when lobes opposite.
Hab. Sides of streams, and watercourses in low gullies, forests about Danneverke, County of Waipawa; 1887: W.C.
Obs. I. This little fern is closely and naturally allied to some other of our small Lomariœ: as L. lanceolata, Spr., L. membranacea, Col., L. pumila, Raoul, L. oligoneuron, Col., and L. intermedia, Col.;* but, as I take it, (after long and close comparison and study of the plants in their living state,) is very distinct from them all in several characters, yet forming with them a pleasing kind of natural sequence. At the same time, with Sir W. J. Hooker, I feel obliged to remark on the great and increasing difficulty or impossibility of making real distinctions and differences in allied ferns clearly known without accurate drawings.
II. I have described it as “pinnate,” (and have given my reason for doing so,) other botanists may deem it to be pinnatifid; it is just one of those ferns that (to use Sir W. J. Hooker's words) “might with equal propriety be called pinnatifid or pinnate.” (“Ic. Fil.,” on tab. cxl.)
III. It grows plentifully in those habitats mentioned above; and with it, just as plentiful, its congener L. lanceolata, of various sizes. And while, at first sight, the skilled observer is liable to confound the two plants, (as I myself did,) yet he soon learns to distinguish them, even at a short distance.
3. L. parvifolia, sp. nov.
Fronds (sterile) including stipes, 7–9 inches high, 4–5 lines
[Footnote] * “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” vol. xix., p. 274.
broad, linear-lanceolate, slender, weak, drooping, pinnatifid cut nearly to rhachis but the green lamina entire, membranaceous, glabrous, shining, pale-green with a reddish tinge; segments sub 30-jugate, symmetrical, alternate, distant, sinuses large, oblong, 1 ½ lines long, 1 line broad, obtuse (sometimes sub-acute from the tip of a vein); the ultimate lobe rather large, confluent, obtuse, margins entire and sub-sinuate from tips of veins, segments very distant below and sub-pinnate, bases extending upwards and decurrent; midrib flexuous, evanescent; veins very few, pinnate, 2–3-jugate, simple, prominent, extending to margin, their tips thickened, brown. Stipes very long, about half the length of the whole frond, very slender almost capillary, flexuous, finely channelled above, dark-red-brown, glossy, with a few short, sub-orbicular thin reddish scales at base.
Hab. High slopes of Tongariro Mountain Range, County of East Taupo; 1887: per Mr. H. Hill.
Obs. This is a most peculiar species; its long, narrow, slender, small-leaved fronds differ widely from all its congeners known to me. Unfortunately I have not seen a fertile frond, but have received several barren ones entire, and they are nearly alike. Apparently the plant is of cæspitose growth. Perfect specimens of this little species are much desired.
4. L. fluviatilis, Sprengel; var. ramosa, Col.
Plant similar to L. fluviatilis (as found here and in the hilly interior of the North Island), large, gregarious, forming thick beds or patches; caudex stout, 4–6 inches high, coalescent of many stipites. Stipes 4–7 inches long, rather slender, very scaly throughout (as also rhachis) with long red glossy scales. Fronds linear-lanceolate, 2 feet 3 inches to 2 feet 6 inches long, 1–1 ¼ inches broad, pinnate, membranaceous, light-green. Sterile fronds: spreading, somewhat decumbent, pinnæ 50-jugate, distant, orbicular, and oval with broadly rounded tips, ½ inch long, slightly narrowed at base, sessile, patent; midrib not extending to apex; veins pinnate, prominent, forked; margins cartilaginous, white, denticulate, recurved; the uppermost lobes very small and pinnatifid, confluent at tip; forked and branched near the top; branches 4–6 inches long, dichotomous at tips, branchlets 1–2 ½ inches long, very narrow; pinnæ as on rhachis but much smaller and gradually reduced in size, minute at apices; sometimes the extreme tips of the branchlets bear long narrow fruiting lobes or pinnæ; and sometimes their tips are corymbose-crested and much dilated,* with their lobes close and imbricated; more rarely a single narrow linear obtuse leaflet, or lobe, 2 inches long, is produced from the main rhachis at the
[Footnote] * As shown in L. spicant, var. ramosum, Moore: Lowe, “New and Rare Ferns,” plate xxi.
base of a branch. Fertile fronds: the pinnæ are shorter, narrower, and more distant on rhachis than in L. fluviatilis; they are also forked and dichotomously branched near their tops; branches 6–7 inches long, very narrow, flexuous, and curved; the pinnæ small, 2–4 lines long, very numerous. Sori copious; involucre large, laciniate at margins; brown, very cellular.
Hab. Dry forests near Norsewood, County of Waipawa; 1882–86: W.C.
Obs. I. I have long known this pretty variety of Lomaria (for such I deem it,) and have, also, shown specimens of it at the meetings of our Society; and for some time have been undecided whether to describe it as a sp. nov., or only as a variety of L. fluviatilis. I was the more inclined to make it a sp. nov. from the manner in which Raoul and other botanists have described L. fluviatilis, (L. rotundifolia of Raoul,) including also their drawings of that plant, evidently showing it to be a much smaller and shorter yet wider-fronded fern; but, on the other hand, there was also my own still earlier description* of it than Raoul's; which, in the main, agrees with this, the large L. fluviatilis of our Hawke's Bay and interior forests.
II. M. Raoul discovered his fern at Akaroa (South Island), and describes it fully as a sp. nov. In his description he says:— “Frondes confertissimæ, …. breviter stipitatæ, oblongolanceolatæ; 2–2 ½ decimetr. longa. Pinnæ (v. lobi) 14–20.” (loc. cit., p. 9.) And his drawing of a small fern, in his folio work, agrees with his description.
III. Sir J. D. Hooker also, in his “Flora Tasmaniæ,” gives a similar drawing, though a little larger, of the Tasmanian plant, with very short and almost glabrous stipes, and glabrous rhachises. In his description he says: “Fronds 8–18 inches high, with very short stipes,” etc. In my description, I had said, “This fern in its native forests presents a very graceful appearance. It there attains a large size, some fronds having been observed between 2 and 3 feet in length. The fertile fronds, generally 3 in number in each plant, are invariably very erect, ascending directly from the centre; while the numerous barren fronds, spread out horizontally in a half-procumbent
[Footnote] * I first met with this fern in “December, 1841, in humid woods near Waikare Lake, North Island;” and an early description of it (with others) was published in 1842, in “The Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science,” vol. i., p. 377, under the name of L. rotundifolia, Col. M. Raoul was also in the spring and summer of that same year (1841), at Akaroa, South Island, where he detected his fern; and again there in 1842–43, returning to France in August, 1843; and soon after he published his “Choix de Plantes de la Nouvelle-Zélande,” in which he, too, knowing nothing of mine, named his fern L. rotundifolia, Raoul. Sir W. J. Hooker, however, in his “Species Filicum,” subsequently published it as being the L. fluviatilis of Sprengel, who I fancy had never seen a New Zealand specimen of it, but only a Tasmanian one—viz., the Stegania fluviatilis of R. Brown.
manner, enchant the eye of the observer with a most elegant circle of delicate and ever-living green” (loc. cit.).
IV. Those two ferns (the New Zealand South Island and Tasmanian ones) are very dissimilar at first sight from our Hawke's Bay, North Island, one; but on close investigation they are not, I think, specifically distinct. It is, however, a pity that we have only drawings of such small dwarfish specimens to represent our tall, fine, and graceful fern—certainly the most handsome of the genus inhabiting New Zealand.
Genus 18. Asplenium, Linn.
§ A. Euasplenium.
1. A. melanolepis, sp. nov.
Plant small, tufted, erect, 10–15 fronds; with numerous small erect subulate black scales at extreme bases of stipites, growing like a little fringed crown among them; roots many, rather short, wiry, chestnut-brown, hairy. Stipes ½–3 inches long, red-brown, glossy, rather slender (sometimes filiform), brittle, sub-cylindrical, flattish on upper surface, narrowly margined (also rhachis), with a few scattered weak brownish scales near base. Fronds linear-lanceolate, pinnate, 4–7 inches long, 4–6 lines wide (at broadest part), flexuous, spreading, green inclining to pale; pinnæ 20–30 pairs, small, 2–2 ½ lines long, 1–1 ½ lines broad, decreasing gradually in size to apex, terminal pinnæ not confluent; petiolate and distant throughout, very distant and minute below, mostly opposite and sub-opposite sometimes alternate, sub-coriaceous and opaque, margined, margins slightly recurved; generally of two principal forms on a frond, (1) those below sub-orbicular-flabellate and rhomboidal, their outer margins pretty regularly bluntly crenate, and their upper and lower basal margins nearly equal; (2) those above sub-obovate-oblong and narrow-oblong, their sides very unequal, the lower margin nearly straight and entire, the upper curved, slightly and irregularly crenulate, and abruptly excised at base, their tips truncate and crenate; veins 3-nerved, flabellate in lower pinnæ; in upper pinnæ few, almost obsolete, with scarcely a midrib; tips very slightly clavate and not extending to margins. Sori near margin but irregular in position and in size, form, and number,—1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 on a pinna,—sometimes a single globose cluster (like Polypodium), and sometimes confluent, filling the under-surface of a pinna; often the smaller oblong pinnæ contain the larger number of sori. Involucre linear, narrow, white, persistent, margin entire. Scales subulate, 3 lines long, much acuminate, flexuous, with a thick central black nerve and largely reticulated membranous margins; cells large, their walls thick and black.
Hab. Among crags on the summit of the high hill Pukekotuku, near Puketapu, County of Hawke's Bay; 1859: W.C. Petane Valley, north of Napier, same county; 1881: Mr. A. Hamilton.
Obs. I. This fern is pretty closely allied to the two well-known British species A. trichomanes and A. viride; also, (though more remotely) to the New Zealand species A. flabellifolium, and it naturally belongs to the same section and group (Euasplenium); but, while it possesses a very strong sectional likeness, it is very distinct from them all in several grave characters—as colour of frond and stipe, shape, size, substance and position of pinnæ, their peculiar venation, the form and place of sori, and their small, narrow, and persistent involucre, and the highly curious basal scales.
II. I have long known this plant, and, though I have several times taken it up for examination, I set it aside, thinking it to be a variety of A. trichomanes, or of A. viride, or a hybrid between them and A. flabellifolium, if those two British species (verœ) were also denizens of this country. I have now, however, thoroughly and exhaustively examined this plant, having plenty of good specimens, and also standard drawings, with dissections,* of those two British species (supra); and the result I have here given in my rather long and close description of this fern. With me, such an amount of differential and important characters, found, too, on so many specimens, settles the matter.
III. Some of my specimens of this fern are, to say the least of them, “sportive”—their rhachises largely forked at tips with a long terminal pinna; others possessing a few very long and scattered ligulate pinnæ, 8–10 lines long, but scarcely regular enough to be deemed a variety.
2. A. flabellifolium, Cav., var. ramosum, Col.
Plant tufted, 6–9-fronded, prostrate, spreading. Stipe light-green, slender, glabrous (also rhachis), 2–5 inches long. Frond dark-green, pinnate, main rhachis 10–14 inches long, subflexuous, branched above; tips long, filiform, naked, proliferous; branches very slender, straight, 4–7 inches long; pinnæ petiolulate, free, alternate, (the lowest pair opposite,) 18–24 on each side of main rhachis, 3–8 lines long, 2–5 lines broad, of various sizes and shapes:—(1) broadly deltoid, and 3-lobed ovate or
[Footnote] * I may especially mention (for drawings, etc.,) Sir W. J. Hooker's “British Ferns;” Sowerby's “English Botany;” Newman's “British Ferns;” Bentham's “British Flora;” and Beddome's “Ferns of South and of British India;” also, for additional descriptions, “Species Filicum,” Hooker; “Synopsis Filicum,” Baker; and the description of A. trichomanes in “Flora Australiensis,” etc.
bluntly sub-hastate with very obtuse rounded tips: (2) quadrilateral: (3) trapeziform: (4) ovate-acuminate with proliferous tips,—their margins sharply toothed, the posterior lower base excised, sometimes both; midrib flexuous; veins pinnate; veinlets simple and forked, vanishing at tips and not extending to margins; trinerved in the broadest pinnæ. Sori numerous, biserial, 3–6 pairs on a pinna, nearer costa than margin, opposite, oblique, distinct not confluent, sometimes an additional smaller sorus, or even 2, on auricle of larger pinnæ. Involucre pale, rather large, adpressed, sub-lunulate-linear, finely reticulated (sub lente), margins entire but slightly sub-sinuate. Capsules large brown shining, not numerous, scarcely appearing from beneath open margin of involucre.
Hab. Woods near the town of Waipawa; 1882: Mr. A. Hamilton.
Obs. A striking variety of a well-known and elegant New Zealand fern; peculiar in its branching and in its highly abnormal and varied pinnæ on the same frond; and still further differing from A. flabellifolium in the disposition of its veins and sori.
Genus 20. Nephrodium, Br.
1. N. inæquilaterum, sp. nov.
Rhizome subterranean, long, creeping, flexuous, woody, sub-angular-cylindrical, as thick as a common lead pencil, with many rootlets, blackish. Vernation erect, uniserial, distant 1–1 ½ inches on rhizome. Stipes 6–7 inches long, rather stout, sub-cylindrical, channelled above, (as, also, rhachis and sub-rhachises,) straw-coloured, blackish at base, glabrous. Fronds, 5–8 (rarely 9–10) inches long, 3–6 inches broad at base, ovate and sub-deltoid-ovate, acuminate, sub-membranaceous, green, glabrous, somewhat glossy, with a few small broad inflated brown scales scattered on rhachis and sub-rhachises; pinnate, pinnæ few 8–12-jugate, opposite, free, not close, very distant below on rhachis, 1–1 ½ inches apart, the lowest pair of pinnæ very little shorter than the pair above, petiolate, linear-lanceolate-acuminate, 2–3 inches long, 4–5 lines wide, tip acute, spreading, straight, sometimes approximate, pinnatifid, one-third cut to rhachis; lobes small, regular, attenuated, sub-deltoid, unequilateral, the lowest posterior basal lobe wanting as if the pinna was excised; tips falcate or curved with a small mucro; midrib flexuous; margins entire, slightly cartilaginous, white, recurved; the terminal pinna 2 inches long, its lobes larger than those of pinnæ, tip very acuminate. Veins of lobes conspicuous, translucent, reddish, pinnate, 6–7-jugate, curved and extending to margin, besides the lowermost vein which
starts from extreme base of midrib on the anterior side and makes an angle with a much shorter vein that meets it from sub-rhachis of pinna on the posterior side directly under the sinus, and so forming a costal anastomosing unequilateral venule between the lobes, enclosing a narrow triangular costal areole; the lower (or 2nd) pair of basal veins scarcely meet at the sinus, usually appearing at the margins just above it, to which also a long straight veinlet is carried from the outer angle of the said costal areole. Sori many, nearer margin than midrib, sub-marginal, close, confluent in age, occupying lobes from tips to far below sinus and nearly to sub-rhachis, unequal in number on a lobe, usually 6 on one side and 7 on the other, much more numerous (8–10 pairs) on lobes of the terminal pinna, also on upper smaller pinnæ. Capsules profuse, dark-brown, glossy. Involucre large, persistent, sub-orbicular-quadrate, somewhat dilated, membranaceous, white at first becoming brown in age, shining, closely filled with many dark crinkled veins; margins much sinuate, ciliated; ciliæ jointed. (Resembling those of N. funestum, Hook., and N. squamigerum, Hook. and Arn.: “Sp. Filicum,” vol. iv., tabs. 259, 270.)
Hab. Woods near Tapuaeharuru, County of East Taupo; 1872 (received from a visitor): Wairakei, same county; 1887: Mr. C. J. Norton.
Obs. A few years ago I received several fronds of this fern from an acquaintance, who was sojourning for his health among the hot baths in the Taupo District; but unfortunately they were all barren. At the time I thought the fern would prove distinct from any known and published ones; at all events, they were then new to me. Recently, however, through the kindness of Mr. Norton, I have received several fruiting specimens, and I now find them, after long and close examination, to be as I had supposed. The fern, however, is not wholly new to collectors and others, it having, I believe, commonly passed with them as N. unitum, Sieb., from which species, although allied, it is certainly quite distinct, and that in several characters: as in its very much smaller size and different shape; the pinnæ few, petiolate, distant and not contracted at base,* their lobes
[Footnote] * Sir W. J. Hooker says of N. unitum: “fronds 1–2 feet long, suddenly contracted and attenuated at the base by the dwarfing of the pinnæ there.” (“Sp. Filicum,” vol. iv., p. 81.) And this is also clearly shown by Beddome in his drawing of that species. Further, I am well aware of what Baker says (“Syn. Filicum,” pp. 289–290) respecting the N. unitum of Sieb., and of Hook.; that it is a different fern from N. unitum of R. Br.; and he also gives separate descriptions of both, making of the former fern a distinct species, N. cucullatum, Baker. Moreover, this is supported by Clark in his more recent work, “Review of the Ferns of Northern India” (“Trans. Linn. Society of London,” 1880; 2nd series, Botany, vol. i., part viii.), but all that makes no difference, as far as regards this New Zealand fern here described, as it is equally distinct from both.
oblique and peculiarly unequal-sided; fewer veinlets, with only one basal pair uniting and forming a long narrow costal areole; sori also in unequal series on the lobes; and the involucre large, persistent, differently shaped and ciliate. All these characters are the opposite of those of N. unitum; as given respectively by Sir W. J. Hooker, Bentham, Baker, and Beddome; while the drawing of N. unitum with dissections (“Beddome's Ferns of South India,” tab. 78) shows a very different plant. So also his drawings of other closely allied species, as N. terminans, J. Sm., N. propinquum, Br., N. extensum, Hook., and N. pteroides, J. Sm. (loc. cit.), all of them being also Australian ferns, and much nearer to N. unitum than any of them are to this species. Having had plenty of good specimens, and that, too, in their fresh state, with ample works of reference at hand, I have, I trust, fully settled this inquiry.
Genus 21. Nephrolepis, Schott.
1. N. flexuosa, sp. nov.
Caudex subterranean, erect, 6–8 inches (or more) long, composed of a harsh somewhat woody flexuous rhizome, some broken stipites and many long wiry rigid branching and spreading glossy rootlets; vernation fasciculate. Stipes 3–6 inches long, semi-terete at top, cylindrical at base, slender, brittle, reddish, glossy, hairy. Fronds erect, mostly 12–20 (sometimes 23–26) inches high, linear-lanceolate, attenuated above and below, tip acute; rhachis slender, channelled above, brown, shaggy with long flexuous red fimbriate scales or compound hairs; pinnate, usually 1–1 ¼ inches wide (sometimes 1 ½–1 ¾ inches) at the widest part, green, glabrous, glossy, with cretaceous dots on upper surface directly over the clavate tips of veins; pinnæ varying in number on a frond from 60 to 100, and even to 140 (rarely) on each side of rhachis, ½ inch long, 2–2 ½ lines wide, alternate, distant (sometimes close-set), obliquely-oblong, tips broad; very small above at apex, small and orbicular and very distant at base; patent, upper margin straight sometimes very slightly curved; midrib dark-coloured, flexuous, not reaching to apex of pinna, sub 3-branched at base; margins somewhat crenate-incised with few distant irregular incisions, their outer edges straight; tips rounded crenate; anterior base of pinnæ largely auricled upwards, auricle cordate, rounded, entire and imbricating rhachis, its margins recurved; the posterior base scarcely sub-cordate, often slightly excised; petiolulate, the petiole inserted in an oval excavation in the epidermis of the rhachis, with additional hairs at the junction. Veins rather obscure, few, free, 12–16-jugate in larger pinnæ, bases dark as midrib, forked only, not extending to margins; tips orbicular, clavate. Sori large, biserial on the
upper part of pinnæ on the anterior veinlets, nearer margin than costa, always more in the upper row, usually 7–5 (5–3, and so on), the uppermost pinnæ with sori in one row only; capsules small, dark-coloured, on very long pedicels. Involucres of various shapes—reniform, lunate, and hippocrepiform, persistent, very membranaceous, whitish, finely reticulated with dark veins, transparent, glossy, margins entire and sinuate, opening towards apex, of pinna, except 2 (sometimes 8) basal ones in the upper row which open towards lateral margin. The compound scales or flattened hairs on the rhachis are very peculiar, brown, sub-ovate and largely fimbriate at base, with long curly white tips, their basal fimbriæ also very curly.
Hab. Banks of a hot stream at Tapuaeharuru, near Taupo township; and in the neighbourhood of hot springs at Wairakei, near the River Waikato, west bank; both places in the County of East Taupo; 1887: Mr. C. J. Norton. [My first specimens I received from the interior (exact locality unknown), in 1861: W.C.]
Obs. I. I have known this fern for several years (26), but only from imperfect specimens, yet I ever doubted it being N. tuberosa, Presl. Lately, however, I have received a quantity of good specimens from Mr. Norton, and now, after a prolonged and close examination, aided by the works of our first pteridolo-gists, I feel assured that it is a different species from N. tube-rosa, Presl., as that fern is described and figured by them.
II. The latest critical authority on Indian ferns known to me is Mr. G. B. Clarke (“Trans. Linn. Soc., 2nd series, Botany,” vol. i.), who both describes N. tuberosa, Presl., (l.c., p. 540,) and refers to Beddome's figures of it (“Ferns of Southern India,” tab. xcii.); the fern there figured and dissected is utterly unlike this one described by me,—in outline, in size and shape and cutting of pinnæ, in midrib and venation, and in sori. J. Smith (“Ferns Brit, and For.,” p. 164,) refers to “Lowe's Ferns,” vol. vii., tab. 25, for N. tuberosa, Presl.; that figure too, is very far from this fern. I cannot reconcile Bentham's description of Aspidium (Nephrolepis) cordifolium = N. tuberosa of authors, (“Flora Austral.,” vol. vii., p. 754,) with this New Zealand fern; neither does it agree with Swartz's brief description of Aspidium cordifolium, with which fern Bentham has united it. In Sir W. J. Hooker's carefully detailed specific description of N. tuberosa, Presl., (“Sp. Fil.” vol. iv., p. 151,) I find grave differences of character, distinguishing it from this fern. Of that fern he says: “fronds glabrous, pinnæ crenated, auricle acute,” [as also shown in Beddome's figures,] “sori equidistant, opening towards apex of pinna, involucre reniform nearly half-moon--shaped, firm, coriaceous, base black,“ etc. And Baker (“Syn. Fil.,” p. 300,) says of N. cordifolia, Presl.:
“rhachis slightly scaly, involucre firm, distinctly reniform,” etc. To which I would add Moore's remark on N. tuberosa: “Indusium reniform affixed by its oblique arcuate base;” which, also, his figure of it shows. (“Ind. Fil.,” p. xc.; tab. 72, B. 5.) All those characters do not agree with these of this species (vide descr.), besides other positive important ones peculiar, to it. Lowe (l.c.) gives no less than eight plates of as many distinct species of Nephrolepis, all differing from this one; the nearest, however, of them to it is N. pectinata, Schott (tab. 18,) but only in a distant resemblance. I notice this species is made by Baker (l.c.) a var. β of N. tuberosa, Presl.
III. As the species of Nephrolepis described by Sir J. D. Hooker* is in the same characters (abbreviated) as in “Sp. Fil.” (supra), it is, of course, a different species from this one, and it was obtained from a very different locality in New Zealand; so we now possess two (or more) species of this small genus† three (or more) species are known from Australia.
Genus 22. Polypodium, Linn.
1. P. (Groniopteris) subsimilis, sp. nov.
Gaudex erect, 1 foot to 1 foot 6 inches high, rather slender, coalescent. Vernation fasciculate, many fronds together, sub-erect, free, spreading. Stipes 2–3inches long, rather slender, very scaly; scales large, ovate, cordate, peltate, obtuse, brown, 2–3lines long, with large hexagonal cells. Fronds 10–12(rarely 16) inches long, 4 inches broad at middle, oblong-lanceolate, pinnate, membranaceous, dull-green blotched with red, somewhat glossy above in a longitudinal line along centre of pinnæ, rhachis slender, deeply channelled above, reddish, very hairy (also sub-rhachises, costæ, and veins); hairs short, with scattered broadly-ovate adpressed brown scales on rhachis, sub-rhachises, and veins below; pinnæ petiolate, free, opposite, rather distant, horizontal, spreading, sub-linear-lanceolate, 2 inches long, 4 lines wide, broadest at base, tips acuminate, acute; pinnatifid, cut ⅔-rds to sub-rhachis; lobes narrow-oblong, obtuse; margins entire, slightly cartilaginous, ciliate; ciliæ red; the basal pair of lobes on sub-rhachises much larger and pinnatifid, their veins bipinnate; the lowest 3–5 pairs of pinnæ much shorter and broader, ovate, obtuse, 1–1 ¼ inches long, ¾ inch wide at base, each pair about 1 inch apart on rhachis. Veins prominent below, pinnate, simple, usually 7–8pairs in a lobe (5–6pairs only in the lobes of lower short pinnæ), the lowest veinlet uniting with the opposite one and both sending out a
[Footnote] * “Handbook N.Z. Flora,” p. 379.
[Footnote] † Sir W. J. Hooker gives six species. (“Sp. Fil.”); Baker gives seven (“Syn. Fil.”); Lowe (as we have seen) gives plates of eight, and mentions others; and J. Smith (“Hist. Fil.”) gives twelve species of Nephrolepis.
straight veinlet to the sinus; but in the lobes of the upper pinnae the lower pair of veins are curved and barely meeting at the sinus. Sori small, reddish, nearer costa than margin.
Hab. Sides of streams, forests near Matamau, County of Waipawa; 1882–83: W.C.
Obs. I. This fern is nearly allied to P. (G.) pennigerum, Forst., with which, at first sight, it is likely to be confounded and taken for a small plant of that species; but a close examination reveals its difference in several characters—viz., the very much smaller size, narrower and slenderer in all its parts, its excessive hairiness, with peculiar large scales scattered on its frond, and the lobes ciliated; the pinnæ distant, very narrow and largely petiolate, with only the lowest veinlet of the lobes uniting, and the basal lobes large and pinnatifid with bipinnate veins. By some botanists, however, it may be considered as merely a variety of P. pennigerum, like two others (varieties) I have described.*
II. This fern is rather scarce, I having met with it in profusion in only one spot, where, however, were several low arborescent plants of it growing together, forming a little thicket or tangled brake, and certainly looking very pretty and neat.
[Footnote] * Vars. hamiltonii, and giganteum, “Trans. N.Z. Inst,” vol. xiv., p. 338, 339.