The Aspleniaceae family have their sori (containing spores) and indusia (flaps protecting the sori) along the veins on the underneath side of the fronds. They also have little scales on the fronds and rhizomes, and if these are examined under the microscope, they show a latticed appearance.

Most members of this family belong to the Asplenium genus and are known as Spleenworts. You probably don't ever have to go very far into the New Zealand bush to find some examples of this genus. Some of them can show a lot of variation depending on where they are growing and this can sometimes make identification difficult.

Asplenium polyodon

This attractive shiny dark green spleenwort is usually found hanging from tree trunks or old logs, but sometimes also grows on the ground. Easy to recognise, and is found in most parts of the country.

Also known as "Sickle spleenwort" "Peretao" and "Petako".

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