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Kaponga

Both the silver undersides of the frond and the unfurling koru have become popular symbols of New Zealand.

Kaponga
Cyathea dealbata
Can grow as high as
12m
What do these icons mean?

More about this tree

  • Kaponga is a regular feature of coastal and lowland forests throughout New Zealand. It grows with mānuka and kānuka scrub nearer the coast, and as a sub-canopy cover under kauri, podocarp and beech forests.
  • The fern fronds are about 4m long and have distinctive silvery-white undersides. 
  • The unfurling frond, the koru, is a unique symbol often featuring in Māori carving,  moko and artwork. It represents new life and growth, as well as perpetual movement and a return to the point of origin.
  • It been a national symbol for New Zealand since rugby teams playing overseas used it in the late 1880s. Soon afterwards it was used on butter and dairy products sold in Britain.
  • Its pith was historically used to make a poultice to treat skin disease.
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