Scientific Name:
Tmesipteris lanceolata P.A.Dang., Botaniste Séries 2: 214, pl. 15, fig. 6 (1891)
  • Tmesipteris tannensis var. lanceolata (P.A.Dang.) Domin, Biblioth. Bot. 20 (85): 232, tab. 1, fig. 4 (1915)
Lectotype (selected by Chinnock 1998): Plate 15, figure 6 in Le Botaniste Sér. 2 (Dangeard 1891)
From the Latin lanceolatus (lance-shaped), a reference to the leaf shape.

Epiphytic ferns. Aerial stems pendent or horizontal, 30–185 mm long, 8–40 mm wide, unbranched, of determinate growth terminated by a large sterile leaf. Leaves ovate or elliptic, straight or slightly falcate, distichously arranged, shiny green on upper surface, dull green on lower surface, coriaceous; the longest 7–23 mm long, 2–8.5 mm wide, borne from just above to just below mid-stem; apices cuspidate or rarely truncate, with a mucro 1–2 mm long. Sporophylls usually in the proximal half of the stem. Synangia 2–5 mm long, 1–2.5 mm high; lobes equal or slightly unequal, conic to round-ended; the lower surface of each lobe appressed to the subtending leaf margin along its length; the conic apices projecting laterally or slightly downwards.


This species is easily recognised by its shorter stems, distichously arranged leaves, and synangia which are usually confined to the lower part of the stem. The leaves are also shiny green, and ovate or elliptic in shape, unlike the other species which generally have duller leaves that are longer and narrower in outline.

Some plants from Northland and Great Barrier Island differ from T. lanceolata in having the synangia confined to the upper half of the stem. They resemble T. norfolkensis from Norfolk Island but further work is required to determine their true identity.


North Island: Northland, Auckland, Volcanic Plateau, Gisborne, Taranaki.

South Island: Western Nelson.

Kermadec Islands, Chatham Islands

Altitudinal range: 0–500 m.

Tmesipteris lanceolata occurs through Northland, Auckland, and coastal Bay of Plenty as far as East Cape, and along the west coast south to New Plymouth. It is found most commonly in coastal and lowland forest but reaches 300 m in the Hūnua Range, 450 m on Raoul Island and over 500 m in the Hokianga district and on Mt Moehau, Coromandel. It is known from just three South Island collections in North-west Nelson, between Kaihoka Lakes and Kahurangi Point where it grows to 60 m, and from one collection on the Chatham Islands (AK 296646).

Also New Caledonia.


Tmesipteris lanceolata is found as an epiphyte on tree fern trunks, most commonly on Cyathea dealbata, C. medullaris and Dicksonia squarrosa, but it has also been reported on D. lanata (Chinnock 1975). On Raoul Island it grows on Cyathea milnei. It occurs in kauri, podocarp, pōhutukawa and broadleaved forest, and tall kānuka scrub.

Indigenous (Non-endemic)

The holotype of Dangeard’s Tmesipteris lanceolata has probably been destroyed (Chinnock 1975), and Dangeard’s illustration was therefore selected as lectotype (Chinnock 1998). The type locality, "Montagnes-Bleues", was most likely to have been in New Caledonia where the species is common (Chinnock 1998).

Brownsey, P.J.; Given, D.R.; Lovis, J.D. 1985: A revised classification of New Zealand pteridophytes with a synonymic checklist of species. New Zealand Journal of Botany 23(3): 431–489.
Brownsey, P.J.; Lovis, J.D. 1987: Chromosome numbers for the New Zealand species of Psilotum and Tmesipteris, and the phylogenetic relationships of the Psilotales. New Zealand Journal of Botany 25(3): 439–454.
Brownsey, P.J.; Perrie, L.R. 2015: Psilotaceae. In: Breitwieser, I; Heenan, P.B.; Wilton, A.D. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand — Ferns and Lycophytes. Fascicle 9. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand ferns and allied plants. Edition 2. David Bateman, Auckland.
Chinnock, R.J. 1975: The New Zealand species of Tmesipteris (Psilotaceae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 13(4): 743–768.
Chinnock, R.J. 1998: Psilotaceae. In: Flora of Australia. Vol. 48. 47–53.
Dangeard, P.A. 1891: Mémoire sur la morphologie et l’anatomie des Tmesipteris. Le Botaniste Séries 2: 163–222.
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Barkla J.W.; Courtney, S.P.; Champion, P.D.; Perrie, L.R.; Beadel, S.N.; Ford, K.A.; Breitwieser, I.; Schönberger, I.; Hindmarsh-Walls, R.; Heenan, P.B.; Ladley, K. 2018: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series. No. 22. [Not Threatened]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington. [Not Threatened]
Domin, K. 1915: Beiträge zur Flora und Pflanzengeographie Australiens. Bibliotheca Botanica 20 (85): 1–239.