Family: Schistochilaceae

The Schistochilas are found in most parts of New Zealand in wet areas of forest, particularly on damp shaded banks. About 17 species are known in New Zealand. Each leaf has two distinct parts, making this group easy to identify, although Balantiopsis can appear similar until one has a closer look at the leaves.

Schistochila appendiculata

This is a magnificent one, usually found in large clumps covering banks, in damp gullies.

Schistochila balfouriana

Has this distinctive pale colour. If you look underneath, you can find little red "roots" (rhizoids) along the stem.


Schistochila pinnatifolia

This species has a slight yellow-brown tinge to it, and no underleaves (only two of the Schistochilas have no underleaves).


Schistochila repleta

This is a smaller plant than the others, and found in small clumps amongst other bryophytes - easy to miss.


These last two images show sporophytes of a Schistochila appendiculata. When the female structure (archegonium) at the end of the stem is fertilized, it develops into a sporophyte. When the capsule is mature, the stalk (seta) rapidly elongates and pushes the capsule outwards. The ripe capsule splits into 4 to release the spores.

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