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Blechnum novae-zelandiae T.C.Chambers et P.A.Farrant (Blechnaceae)

Kiokio, Korokio, Horokio, Koropui, Piupiu, Tupari, Uruuru whenua, Palmleaf Fern

Derivation: Blechnum from Greek 'blekhnon', the name of a fern; novae-zelandiae = of New Zealand


The above is the presently (1998) accepted name for the kiokio.

B. capense sensu Allan was demonstrated to have been preceded by B. capense Burm f., and hence illegitimate, and in any case possibly referring to more than one taxon in New Zealand. See below. For a period, the name B. procerum was used for this complex, but a 1998 review by Chambers and Farrant subdivided the complex into several species.

As the list of synonyms below demonstrates, apart from illegitimate names, there has been much debate about the nature of the different generic and family relationships inside this group.

Stegania procera var. stipulosa A.Rich.;

Blechnum capense sensu Cheeseman;

Lomaria capensis sensu Cheeseman;

Lomaria procera var. flagelliformis Szyszyl;

Osmunda capensis, L. Mantissa 1771, 306.

Omunda procera Forst. f. Prodr. 1786, 78.

Onoclea procera (Forst.f.) Spreng. in Schrad. Journ. Bot. (1799) 2, 1799, 267

Blechnum procerum (Forst. f.) Swartz Syn. Fil. 1806, 115;

Lomaria capensis (L.) Willd. Sp. Pl. 5, 1810, 291;

Stegania procera R.Br. Prodr. 1810, 153;

Blechnum. capense (L.) Schlecht. Adumb. Fil. Bonae Spei. 1825, 34, t. 18.

Lomaria procera Spreng. Syst. Veg. 4, 1827, 65;

Lomaria latifolia Col. in Tasm. J. Nat. Sci. 2, 1846, 175;

Lomaria duplicata Potts in T.N.Z.I. 9, 1877, 491

Anderson Track, Waitakeres

The red coloration is a protection against strong light. It's close relatgion, B. montanum, the Mountain Kiokio, found mainly in the South Island, tends to feature this coloration more generally.

6 December 2006, Pipeline Road, Waitakeres

At their largest, these fronds can be up to 3m long.

6 December 2006 Pipeline Road, Waitakeres

Lurking in the back right of the picture is another principal component of roadside scrub

6 December 2006, Pipeline Road, Waitakeres

It's a prominent feature along any track with a decent amount of moisture and an extra dose of light - the edges of the road along the Scenic Drive are covered with it.

5 January 2007, Winstone Track, Piha

9 January 2007, Long Road Track, Waitakeres

9 January 2007, Long Road Track, Waitakeres

5 January, 2007, Winstone Track, Piha

As Brownsey et al remark in a 1985 article:

Our concepts of families and genera are also changing and in the twenty or more years since Allan's work [NZ Flora] there have been major revisions of such families as Hymenophyllaceae (Morton 1968), Cyatheaceae (Tryon 1970), and Thelypteridaceae (Holttum 1971) as well as generic revisions of Lastreopsis (Tindale 1965), Doodia (Partis 1972), Tmesipteris (Chinnock 1975), Grammitis (Parris & Given 1976), Lindsaea (Kramer & Tindale 1976), Asplenium (Brownsey 1977a, b), Deparia (Kato 1984), and Hypolepis (Brownsey & Chinnock 1984).

These, together with other smaller revisions, additions of new species, and sundry nomenclatural changes, have resulted in a situation where a high proportion of the names used by Allan (1961) are out of date. (My emphasis. DCW)

He goes on to say:

Blechnum is an extremely important genus in New Zealand, being second only to Hymenophyllum in terms of the number of species. A cytotaxonomic investigation of the local representatives was the subject of an M.Sc. thesis by Chambers, Brownsey et al. — Classification of New Zealand pteridophytes 445 (1954) — which is slowly expanding into a world-wide monograph. Recently Given (in prep.) has suggested that the Blechnum capense aggregate, long recognised as exceedingly polymorphic, comprises five New Zealand taxa, with close relatives in Australia and South Africa.

Despite the fact that some of these taxa are amongst the most common ferns in New Zealand, only two have legitimate names at present. The name B. capense (L.) Schldl., previously used for the best known of these taxa, is predated by B. capense Burm. f. but, in any case, is now known to apply only to South African material; New Zealand plants once referred to this species require a different name.

They include two forms. One ("black spot") is characterised by large fronds with numerous pairs of pinnae which decrease markedly in length towards the base of the frond, and stipe scales with an obvious black centre; this form occurs in a wide variety of habitats but especially on road banks and cliff sides (Crookes 1963, p. 312).

The other ("mountain") has a more truncate base to the frond and bronze
coloured pinnae with undulate margins, and occurs primarily in mountain regions of the South Island (Crookes 1963, p. 285).

Plants with fronds similar to "black spot" in outline but smaller in size, with uniformly pale brown stipe scales, and with more distant, thin textured, obtuse pinnae, occur in swamps and other damp habitats; these are referable to the Australian species, B. minus (Crookes 1963, p. 283 — as B. capense "swamp form").

The name B. minus has been used incorrectly in New Zealand by Allan (1961) and others for a plant which should be called B. procerum. This is closely related to the Australian B. wattsii Tindale (1963b), and has relatively few pairs of more or less equally sized, short, broad pinnae with rounded apices; it occurs most commonly on forest floors (Crookes 1963, p. 281 — as B. minus.)

The morphological characteristics of these forms have also been well illustrated recently by Molloy (1983).

The fifth taxon commonly known as the "Green Bay form" (Crookes 1963, p. 287) occurs in steep-sided gullies and cliffs, often in coastal habitats; it has frond dimensions comparable to "black spot", but is deltoid in outline with a long, thick stipe and numerous pairs of pinnae which decrease in length towards the apex of the frond.

In 1998, Chambers and Tarrant revisited this complex: The abstract of their article is as follows:

There are four species of Blechnum in the B. procerum complex in New Zealand : B. procerum and three new species, B. novae-zelandiae,
B. montanum, and B. triangularifolium . All three are distinct from the Australian B. minus . The new species are endemic to New Zealand and have been known as "Kiokio", "Mountain Kiokio", and "Green Bay Kiokio", respectively, and variously but inconsistently referred to as B. capense, B. procerum, B. minor, B. minus, and Lomaria latifolia.



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