Most New Zealand ferns and lycophytes are forest plants. Ferns grow all over the forest floor, some in the shadiest places, others favouring the edges of tracks where the light is stronger. Some epiphytic species dangle from branches high up in the canopy, while others attach themselves to the trunks of tree ferns. Tree fern crowns form a sub-canopy of fronds under the tallest trees. Climbing ferns begin their life on the shaded forest floor, but by attaching their stems to tree trunks, carry their fronds up to the light.
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