The Cyathea dealbata or Ponga is a species of tree fern endemic to New Zealand.
The Ponga can grow to 10 m high. The crown is dense, and the fronds sprout from the centre starting as a round ball and rolling open, sometimes reaching 4 m in length, it is from this part of the plant, that the koru in Maori art derives, signifying new life. The scales on the trunk are dark brown, with fine hairs which crumble when handeled.
The Ponga is still quite young by New Zealand plant standards as it has only been around for about 3 million years. Ponga’s can be found on the main islands of New Zealand and as far east as the Chatham Islands.
In most New Zealand native forests, the Ponga's dominate the sub canopy layer. Ponga's are also very numerous in the exotic man-made pine forests, and will quickly re establish them selves after an area has been clear felled for harvest.
The silver fern is part of the Ponga family, and is the national plant symbol for New Zealand. It is worn over the heart by all sportsman representing New Zealand.
It is quite common to see "Ponga fences" around properties in the forestry towns, and is now regarded as a Kiwi icon.
The native Weta and the large wolf spider like to hang around this plant.
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