Hymenophyllum minimum


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 minimum A. Rich.



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



Mecodium minimum (A. Rich.) Copel.; Hymenophyllum pygmaeum Colenso


Endemic. North, South, Stewart, Chatham, Antipodes, Campbell Auckland Islands. From the upper Kauaeranga Valley (near Thames) and Mt Pirongia south.


Coastal to montane (usually montane in northern part of range). A common species of shaded rock faces, cliffs, overhangs, and boulder and talus slopes - sometimes in places subjected to salt spray. Often in rather open sites and in places that often dry out for protracted periods of time. Very rarely found growing as an epiphyte.


Diminutive, compact, dense turf-forming fern. Rhizomes long-creeping, very slender and thin, much branched and interwoven. Fronds bright emerald green. Stipes 3-8 mm long, very thin; stipes and rachises not winged, glabrous. Laminae round to elliptic, pinnate, 5-15 × 5-10 mm, glabrous. Pinnae in 1-5 pairs, margins prominently toothed. Sori solitary and terminating rachis, pedunculate. Indusial flaps toothed, abaxially spiny. Description adapted from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).

Similar Taxa

Recognised by its small stature, bright green colour, prominently toothed pinnae, solitary, stalked (pedunculate) sori terminating the rachises, and by the toothed indusial flaps whose outer (abaxial) surfaces are covered in spines.



Flower Colours

No Flowers



Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.


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 23 Jan 2017