Cheilanthes sieberi subsp. sieberi


Cheilanthes: From the Greek kheilos 'lip' and anthos 'flower', referring to the indusium

Common Name(s)

rock 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


Cheilanthes sieberi Kunze subsp. sieberi



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



Cheilanthes humilis (G. Forst.) P.S. Green; Cheilanthes tenuifolia sensu Allan (1961)


Indigenous. New Zealand: Three Kings, North, South Islands. Also Australia and New Caledonia


Coastal to montane in dry, rocky habitats with only sparse or no vegetation cover. Often found growing with Pellaea calidirupium. More common in the drier eastern parts of the country.


Terrestrial or rupestral fern. Fronds up to 350 × 35 mm; stipe and rachis dark brown or red-brown, glabrous or with sparse to moderately dense hairs (to 10 cells, often twisted and glandular), densest at stipe-rachis-rachilla junction, with some scales. Lamina linear-lanceolate or ovate, 3-pinnate at base, 2-pinnate for most of length; larger pinnae triangular-ovate; pinnules lanceolate ovate or elliptic; margins deeply incised, inrolled; adaxially glabrous, abaxially glabrous rarely with a few, sparse hairs. Spores spherical, verrucose, with varying amounts of globular, branched or reticulate deposits; either black, ridged, 49-73 microns diameter and 16 per sporangium, or brown, trilete, 36-52 microns diameter, and 32 per sporangium.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from Cheilanthes distans with which it often grows by the the glabrous (or nearly glabrous) primary pinnae


N.A. - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


N.A. - spore producing

Propagation Technique

Easily grown in a dry sunny site. An excellent pot plant. In ideal conditions it soon self establishes.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 174

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (Updated 3 May 2011). Description adapted from Chambers & Farrant (1998).

References and further reading

Chambers, T.C.; Farrant, P.A. 1998: Cheilanthes. Flora of Australia 48: 271-286.

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 4 Dec 2014