The Calymperaceae are a pantropical family that are taxonomically difficult in most parts of their range. Members of the family grow erect or weakly creeping on tree trunks or rock and often bear spherical clusters of multi-cellular gemmae near the costa apex. The gemma clusters give most of the family members a distinctive and very attractive appearance under a hand-lens or microscope. The abundance of the family, and particularly of its two largest genera, Calymperes and Syrrhopodon, is a conspicuous feature of the floras of many tropical Pacific islands. New Zealand sits near the family’s extreme southern distributional limit and this is reflected in its scant representation here. Only two species of Calymperes and one of Syrrhopodon occur in N.Z. Calymperes tenerum is widespread in the Pacific, south-east Asia, and northern Australia and is reported from scattered sites in the neotropics. In N.Z. it occurs in the Kermadec Is, the Chatham Is, and the extreme northern North I. Syrrhopodon armatus is also widespread in the Pacific, including the Kermadec Is, Chatham Is, and northern North I., where it grows as far south as the Coromandel Peninsula. The third N.Z. representative of the Calymperaceae, Calymperes tahitense, is widespread in the palaeotropics, including the tropical Pacific islands, and has been collected only once in the Kermadec Is.
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