Bracken fern is one of the first plants to colonise cleared forest. It sprouts readily from underground stems when it has been burnt, and can persist at a site for decades. Bracken cover increased dramatically after Māori arrived in New Zealand and began to clear forests. Māori baked and ate the underground stems (known as aruhe), which were an important source of carbohydrate.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Dick Veitch
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