rough tree fern, tirawa
Recognition: tree fern with dark-brown and hairy frond-stalks, and coarse-textured fronds. The trunks are often closely clustered, and the orange dead fronds give a scruffy appearance.
Distribution/ecology: only found in New Zealand. In lowland to medium-altitude forest and swamps throughout. Occurs in wet habitats.
Relationships: two other Dicksonia species are indigenous to New Zealand. Whekï-ponga (Dicksonia fibrosa) has short, green frond-stalks, a trunk that can become very thick, and a skirt of dead fronds. Tüökura (Dicksonia lanata) has long, green or orange-brown frond-stalks, and either forms a short trunk (Northland, up to c. 2 metres tall) or grows without a trunk.
The hairs on the fronds (and also easily seen within the crown) of Dicksonia species easily distinguish them from the other group of tree ferns in New Zealand, Cyathea, which are scaly.