Notogrammitis heterophylla


Notogrammitis: From the Greek noto- ‘southern’ and gramma ‘line', referring to this new genus of southern strap ferns which were previously in Grammitis.
heterophylla: varied leaves; from the Greek heteros and phullon

Common Name(s)

comb fern

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Notogrammitis heterophylla (Labill.) Parris



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class



Grammitis heterophylla Labill.; Xiphopteris heterophylla (Labill.) Spreng.; Gymnogramma billardierei Kaulf.; Polypodium billardierei Fée; Polypodium grammitidis R.Br.; Ctenopteris grammitidis (R.Br.) J.Sm.; Grammitis grammitidis (R.Br.) Keyserl.; Polypodium grammitidis R.Br.; Ctenopteris heterophylla (Labill.) Tindale


Indigenous. New Zealand: Three Kings, North, South, Stewart, Chatham and Auckland Islands. Also Australia.


Coastal to subalpine. Usually epiphytic but also common on cliff faces, boulders in forest and on sheltered rocks within talus and scree


Epiphytic or rupestral shortly rhizomatous fern forming tufted patches. Frond produced in two rows. Lamina (25-)87-191(-300) mm long, (3-)18-57(-100)mm wide; pinnae (3-)12-21(-36) pairs; longest pinnae (1-)10-40(-63) mm long, 15-75(-21) mm wide, apically truncate to acuminate, herbaceous to thickly coriaceous; margins entire or with primary and secondary lobules; hairs 0.2-0.8 mm long, whitish to pale red-brown, catenate, simple, glandular to eglandular, or whitish to pale red-brown, forked, abaxially on rachis, sometimes on both surfaces of lamina and margins. Sori on (2-)8-15(-22) pairs of pinnae.

Similar Taxa




Flower Colours

No Flowers



Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 74

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Minute spores are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Not commercially available

Notes on taxonomy

As Ctenopteris heterophylla, Notogrammitis heterophylla was always regarded as very similar to New Zealand Grammitis (all now Notogrammitis) from which it was largely distinguished by its divided frond. However, occasional hybrids between Ctenopteris heterophylla and both Grammitis billardierei and G. ciliata (now Notogrammitis billardierei and N. ciliata respectively), both with varying levels of fertility (i.e. not completely sterile) have been recorded from the wild (Parris 1977; de Lange & Rolfe 2011), and these suggested a very close relationship between Ctenopteris heterophylla and what is now Notogrammitis.

Subsequently the New Zealand species of Grammitis along with Ctenopteris heterophylla and one Australian Grammitis (G. garrettii) have now been transferred to a new genus, Notogrammitis Parris (Perrie & Parris 2012).


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (Updated 10 April 2011). Description from Parris (1998)

References and further reading

de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R. 2011: Vascular flora of Maungaraho Rock. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin 53: 11-22

Parris, B.S. 1977: A naturally occurring intergeneric hybrid in Grammitidaceae (Filicales): Ctenopteris heterophylla × Grammitis billardieri. New Zealand Journal of Botany 15: 597-599.

Parris, B.S. 1998: Grammitidaceae. Flora of Australia 48: 450-468.

Perrie, L.R.; Parris, B.S. 2012: Chloroplast DNA sequences indicate the grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae) in New Zealand belong to a single clade, Notogrammitis gen. nov. New Zealand Journal of Botany 50: 457-472.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 15 Aug 2014