Marsh fern Thelypteris confluens

Many of New Zealand’s threatened ferns are found in warmer climates on landmasses north of New Zealand, with New Zealand representing their southern distribution limits. These species tend to be restricted to northern areas of the country and occupy coastal and geothermal sites. Other species are restricted to habitats such as wetlands, which have suffered drastic modification and loss, or are palatable to stock and feral animals.

Key Features

  • Long, creeping fern forming patches in swamps, typically among reeds and grasses. Fronds are distinctive, being stiffly erect, thin, soft, light green and bipinnate. Fertile fronds are slightly narrower than sterile fronds.

Distribution and Habitat

  • Formerly common in lowland swamps throughout the northern North Island, but now localised from the far north to the Bay of Plenty.


  • Habitat modification and loss.

Management Opportunities and Methods

  • Survey for new locations.
  • Protection of habitat.

Monitoring Options

  • Check existing populations annually.
  • Report new locations to DOC, NZPCN.

Further Information and Support

  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN).
  • Weed management - Department of Conservation, Regional Councils.
  • References
    • Brownsey, P.J. & Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. (2000). New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants. David Bateman, Auckland.