Story: Evolution of plants and animals

Hen and chickens fern

Hen and chickens fern

The hen and chickens fern (Asplenium bulbiferum) is found in New Zealand and Australia. Of New Zealand’s 194 native ferns and lycophytes, 95 species (49%) also grow in Australia. It is likely that ferns and other spore-producing plants (such as mosses and liverworts) are widespread because their lightweight spores are easily blown long distances by strong winds. Most New Zealand ferns belong to groups that did not exist 85 million years ago, so they must have arrived since New Zealand broke away from Gondwana.

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
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How to cite this page:

Matt McGlone, 'Evolution of plants and animals - How did they arrive?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 September 2023)

Story by Matt McGlone, published 24 Sep 2007