The family Ophioglossaceae is represented in New Zealand by two genera (Botrychium and Ophioglossum) with five species, two of which are endemic. Ophioglossum coriaceum is widespread throughout both main islands, whereas O. petiolatum is now very localised in the northern part of the North Island. Botrychium australe is widespread in the North Island but largely confined to eastern parts of the South Island; B. biforme is widespread in both main islands south of latitude 38° S; and B. lunaria is known only from two alpine localities in north-west Nelson. All members of the family in New Zealand are terrestrial ferns with a very distinctive morphology in which the fronds are divided into a sterile blade and fertile sporophore. The sporangia are not arranged in sori, have thick walls opening along a line of weakness, and produce thousands of trilete spores. Neither genus is typically fern-like in its appearance. Many species in the family are geographically widespread but poorly understood; a modern monograph, particularly of Ophioglossum, is badly needed.
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