Tree ferns and larger ground ferns
It must be remembered that tree ferns begin as small "ground" ferns and a
number of young ponga are growing along the sides of the tracks. These ground ferns can be broadly separated by their growth habit and size.
The silver fern or ponga (Cyathea dealbata) forms the dominant fern (look at the colour of the fronds on the ground and note the silver colour).
The black fern or mamaku (Cyathea medullaris) is once again showing its magnificent fronds as the successful reduction in possum number has allowed regeneration. This black fern is recognised by its long black frond "stalks" emerging from the ground as new ferns grow.
The gully fern (Pneumatopteris pennigera) is plentiful within the bush near the older part of the track.
Deparia petersenii and the brake, Pteris tremula (shaking brake)
grow readily on the sides of the track. These ferns appear similar but P. tremulais a larger, tufted fern while the Deparia creeps across the ground. The spores of D. petersenii are arranged in a herringbone fashion, while those of Pteris species are along the pinna edge.
A very pretty fern belonging to the pteris family; the sweet fern is also present. The spores on this fern donot reach to the tip of the pinna.
Small ground ferns
Growth of ground ferns is changing now that the stock have been fenced out. The walkway too, should ensure that these have the opportunity to regenerate.
Two ferns which form creeping mats in the Mangemangeroa
are the thread fern Blechnum filiforme and the small maidenhair fern Adiantum diaphanum. B. filiforme also climbs well but as it does so the frond becomes much larger.
Another fern which may be confused with the thread fern and small maidenhair fern is Pellaea rotundifolia.
In the more isolated areas, not close to the track are excellent examples of the coastal hard
fern Blechnum blechnoides species forming quite distinct mats. It is easily recognised by its tough texture and tufted nature.
Growing in the less dark habitat is Doodia media (rasp fern), this is quite harsh to touch just like a rasp!
The two larger varieties of the maidenhair ferns species found in the Reserve, Adiantum hispidulum and A. cunninghamii grow in small clumps throughout the Southern section.
Climbing and hanging ferns
A number of ferns are found both on the floor of the forest and climbing up along both tree and fern trunks.
The fragrant fern Microsorum scandens is abundant, covering decomposing logs to form "Womble" like imitations.
The hounds tongue fern Microsorum pustulatus can be mistaken for the fragrant fern. This fern, like M. Scandenshas a variety of"leaf" shapes but is easily identified by its visible deep "blue veins"
The most attractive hanging fern A. flaccidum occurs periodically.
Present throughout the bush are a number of ferns belonging to the Asplenium genus (the spleenworts). Asplenium oblongifolium (shining spleenwort) and A. polyodon (sickle spleenwort) both have beautiful shiny fronds. A polyodon is found in the darker environs and is identifiable by its deeply serrated margins.
Also belonging to this genus is the hen and chicken fern A. bulbiferum and A. lamprophyllum. A. bulbiferumis found toward the upper reaches of the reserve; while A. lamprophyllum is growing in areas nearer to the sea.