Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Inspiration: The New Zealand tree fern


There’s something about the ponga (tree fern) that fascinates me.  It’s primeval.  It’s complex.  It makes me think of dinosaurs and a time when the forest rang with the calls of birds, big and small.  It has beauty that at once repels but also draws you in.

The frond, born a fiddlehead, starts life born a wet, hairy, awful, alien-looking object, barely recognisable as vegetation:

Slowly, tightly packed pinnae unfurl:

From each pinna come tightly packed pinnules, each a mirror image of its parent:

Slowly, feathery pinnulets unwrap:

There’s a symmetry.  Often spoken of in Norah Gaughan’s work. It makes me want to run off and knit one of her designs!

Finally, the majestic tree.

It spins my brain.

I’m not alone on this one. It’s the unofficial national symbol of New Zealand.


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

19 thoughts on “Inspiration: The New Zealand tree fern

  1. Fascinating. Great photography (I’m jealous). Thanks for unfurling such interesting details, just like the tree!

  2. I didn’t realize that’s how the branches came into being. How fascinating. I’m glad you were able to take pictures of each step.

  3. What a lovely post, fascinating that it’s a tree. I have a ‘shrub’ version in my garden which I will watch differently now. The photos are beautiful i can almost smell the earthy dampness and you really capture the ‘movement’ beautifully, well done and thank you! Xxxx

  4. It’s is funny how at first I couldn’t ‘get’ why people are so keen on them here in the UK and friends have paid such a vast sum for tree frens for their garden, but on seeing plenty of them last week growing in their natural habitat(albeit in Cornwall) I have sort of grown fond of them, and your photos are amazing. Hope Uni in the UK is gowing well xx

  5. Oh Yes, congratulations about the Rugby xx

    • It was a tough game. The French played well, and you could see the All Blacks were knackered. Six weeks of constant pressure is a long haul. You could just about hear everyone in the country holding their breath! There are some pretty happy people around today.

      • Alll Blacks!!! :DD

      • Jasper is playing for County Rugby then hopes to get through to England South West squad so I was watching as a Mum who is trying hard to understand the game and not worry that my baby plays Hooker. Looks so rough, no wonder he ends up with black eyes and visits to A & E departments at the local hospital!! xx

      • I could hardly watch some of those rugby games. The blood, the injuries!!!! It was like war! I do hope Jasper wears protective gear!!

  6. I need to tell you that I looked at this post over and over and over again, mesmerized by your photos, your words, and by the tree in general. Thank you for sharing a bit of your magnificent world with us … I want to visit YOU so badly. We must make it happen!! xoxox

  7. Breathtakingly beautiful…..wonderful photography! Thank you for sharing, can’t wait to see what knitting this inspires 🙂

  8. Wow! Even as a Kiwi I haven’t really seen this happen in such detail. Thank you!

  9. What a fascinating tree, a little scary looking at times, could almost be some alien being from a horror movie at the begining of it’s unfurling, great photo’s and it’s nice to see it fully unfurled and such a splendid tree.

    Beautiful silver merino knitting.

  10. Wow! From scary to beautiful!

  11. Wow, as you were writing this blog post I was busy beginning to set up my custom knit business blog at Koru Knits!!!

    I love your photographs of the koru. Would it be OK for me to link to your post here please?

    I’ve been reading your blog for ages and admire your skills at design, pattern writing, colour and time spent knitting!