The family Leptodontaceae is represented in New Zealand by a single genus and only one species, although a second genus occurs in eastern Australia. Our one species, Leptodon smithii, has an English type and is named after the British botanist J.E. Smith, the founder of the Linnean Society. It is a very distinctive plant, with erect and pinnately branched secondary stems that are strongly inwardly curled when dry; this feature allows its ready recognition in the field. It grows on trunks of many tree species but is absent from species of southern beech; it also occurs on drier rock outcrops. The N.Z. distribution of L. smithii is strongly biased toward drier parts of the country but it does occur on limestone outcrops on the West Coast. This arguably provides an example of a predominantly epiphytic taxon occurring on rock when it is near its ecological and environmental limit.
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