31 / Silver Fern

Cyathea dealbata

New Zealand was once largely covered by fern, and in the late 19th century was described as ‘the fernland of the world’. Similarly, a New Zealander could be referred to as a ‘Fernlander’. The silver fern leaf became a popular emblem with a wide range of applications. It was seen on badges worn by New Zealand soldiers in the First World War, as well as on Queen Elizabeth II’s brooch, worn by visiting royalty as recently as 2014. It was adopted by Fernleaf butter, Silver Fern tobacco and, of course, the national women’s netball team. It also gave its name to the Silver Fern Railcar, which operated between Auckland and Wellington from 1972 until 1991. In 1956 the silver fern became an official symbol of New Zealand when it was included in the nation’s revised coat of arms.

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