The silver fern has become the iconic symbol of New Zealand. Here are a variety of representations I found at the Aukland airport alone:
I love it's graphic black-and-white abstraction, the use of positive and negative space, and how the design melds well with
traditional Polynesian and Maori styles. The stem is almost always to the left, the tip to the right. It is simple and distinctive and yet has endless variations (some more artful than others!).
But when we went to find a real silver fern at the Christchurch botanic gardens, it was hard to find. We finally found it, and surprisingly, it looked like this:
The silver fern is beautiful, but I would not have recognized it from its symbol. The symbol has taken on a life of its own. Go All Blacks!