Tree Fern Pictures

The tree fern pictures below show a selection of the amazing diversity of native tree ferns in New Zealand.

Tree ferns plants grow in a variety of habitats, although most are found in damp shady sites beneath tree canopies, growing in well drained rich loamy soils up the sides of gullies in New Zealand native bush.

Nearly all New Zealand tree ferns require shade and shelter. Exceptions include the black ponga (Cyathea medullaris) which will tolerate a more open sunny site and the fast-growing wheki tree fern (Dicksonia squarrosa) which can stand some wind and sun if soils are reliably moist. A minimum winter temperature of -2°c is advised for growing New Zealand tree fern species.

The New Zealand silver fern is especially well-known as New Zealand’s emblem. The silver fern leaf underside is most striking.


Cyathea dealbata – Silver Fern

Silver Tree Fern, ponga. New Zealand’s National Emblem. The silver fern leaf has distinctive silver undersides. Can reach 10m tall. Fronds 2-4m in length. Shelter, semi-shade and moist soil best suit this tree fern.



Cyathea medullaris

Black Tree Fern, mamaku, black ponga. The tallest and most common New Zealand tree fern. Grows 5-15m tall. The fern leaf has jet-black stems reaching up to 5m long. Tolerates a sunny site if sheltered.



Cyathea smithii

Soft Tree Fern, ponga, Smith’s Tree Fern. A smaller tree fern growing up to 8m tall. Fronds to 2.5m long. Grows only in sheltered conditions in a cool shady site.


Dicksonia – Genus contains 25 fern species from the southern hemisphere. Three tree ferns are endemic to New Zealand – found nowhere else – and are commonly cultivated fern plants.
Dicksonia fibrosa

Golden Tree Fern, wheki-ponga. A very slow-growing tree fern reaching 2-6m tall. Fronds to 2m long. An adaptable tree fern tolerant of some exposure, sun or shade.



Dicksonia squarrosa

New Zealand wheki tree fern. The fastest-growing New Zealand tree fern, reaching 2-6m quite quickly. Short fronds to 1.5m long. Perhaps the most adaptable New Zealand tree fern, withstanding some wind if kept moist.