Hymenophyllum malingii


Hymenophyllum: Membranous leaf, from the Greek humen and phullon

Common Name(s)

Filmy 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


Hymenophyllum malingii (Hook.) Mett.



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



Apteropteris malingii(Hook.) Copel.; Sphaerocionium malingii (Hook.) K. Iwats.; Trichomanes malingii Hook.


Endemic. North and South Islands from Te Moehau and Mt Pirongia south throughout the western parts of the South Island, and also around Dunedin.


Montane to subalpine. Usually on the dead or dying trunks of kaikawaka (Libocedrus bidwillii) but also occasionally found on Hall's totara (Podocarpus cunninghamii), rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum), Halocarpus biformis, beech (Fuscospora and Lophozonia spp.) and on moss covered boulders, rocks and cliff faces


Epiphytic (rarely rupestral) fern forming dense to diffuse pendulous patches. Rhizomes long-creeping, gracile, rather brittle. Stipes 30-100 mm long, thin, brittle, not winged, densely covered in grey-red stellate hairs, rachises not winged. Laminae narrowly ovate or linear, 2-3-pinnate, greyish white to red-brown, 30-200 × 5-30 mm, all parts densely invested by stellate hairs, the adaxially grey and abaxially red-brown. Ultimate segments linear, rigid, tubular (round in cross-section), margins smooth. Sori terminating ultimate segments. Indusial flaps densely hairy.

Similar Taxa

Easily recognised by its peculiar preference for the trunks of usually dead or dying kaikawaka, narrow, grey-white to red-brown colour, and by the narrow, tubular ultimate segments which are densely covered in grey or red-brown stellate hairs.



Flower Colours

No Flowers



Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 72

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


Fact Sheet Prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (18 April 2011). Description adapted from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).

References and further reading

Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants. Auckland, David Bateman

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 30 May 2015