Phylloglossum drummondii

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

  • Perennial with a small tuber, up to 5 cm tall, forming small yellow-green tufts. Leafy in summer, but dying down in autumn and winter.
  • Leaves narrow, linear, round in cross-section, fleshy, up to 3 cm long.
  • Fertile stem up to 5 cm long, with fertile part cone-like.

Distribution and Habitat

  • Restricted to a few sites in Northland, North Island. Once more widespread in northern North Island, with scattered occurrences to Banks Peninsula (Canterbury).
  • Moist, open coastal and lowland sites on poorly drained and often infertile soils.


  • Wetland drainage.
  • Habitat modification and loss.
  • Natural succession by taller vegetation can shade it out.
  • Competition with exotic plants.

Management Opportunities and Methods

  • Survey for new locations.
  • Protection of habitat.
  • Weed control.

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.
    • Peter de Lange, Peter Heenan, David Norton, Jeremy Rolfe and John Sawyer (2010). Threatened Plants of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch. 472 pp.