Hymenophyllum peltatum


Hymenophyllum: Membranous leaf, from the Greek humen and phullon
peltatum: shield shape; from the Latin pelta

Common Name(s)

One-sided 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 peltatum (poir.) Desv.



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



Hymenophyllum tunbridgense var. unilaterale (Willd.) G.M.Thomson; Hymenophyllum meyeri C.Presl; Hymenophyllum unilaterale Willd.; Trichomanes peltatum Poir.


Indigenous. New Zealand: North, South, Stewart and Macquarie Islands from Mt Pirongia and Mt Te Aroha south. Also Australia.


Lowland to montane (rarely subalpine). In the North Island confined to montane and subalpine habitats. Usually in closed forest and scrub where it is epiphytic or found growing terrestrially on moss covered logs, mossy hummocks or on rocks.


Terrestrial or epiphytic fern forming thick patches on suitable substrates. Rhizomes slender, filiform, long-creeping, much-branched, and interwoven. Fronds dark green (often red-green). Stipes 10-30 mm long, thin, glabrescent, not winged; rachises narrowly winged throughout (wing tapering toward base). Laminae glabrous, 20-100 × 10-25 mm, elliptic or narrowly ovate, 2-pinnate. Ultimate segments 3-6 mm long, 0.5-1.0 mm wide, linear, toothed, arising only on acroscopic side of primary pinnae. Sori 1-2(-3-5) borne on short branches arising on rachises acroscopic margin of each primary pinna. Involucre ovate to almost round, usually broader than the ultimate segment on which it is borne; indusial flaps entire (rarely finely crenate), receptacle included or slightly exserted. Description adapted from Bostock & Spokes (1998) and Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).

Similar Taxa

Similar to Hymenophyllum revolutum with which it sometimes grows. However, H. peltatum is more usually found at higher altitudes than H. revolutum. It is distinguished from H. revolutum by the completely winged rachis of the frond, secondary pinnae only arising on the acroscopic side of the primary pinnae, and by the 1-2(-3-5) sori which have smooth indusial and arise only on the primary pinna.



Flower Colours

No Flowers



Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed for the wild


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 52

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 (20 April 2011). Description adapted from Bostock & Spokes (1998) and 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

Bostock, P.D.; Spokes, T.M. 1998: Hymenophyllaceae: Flora of Australia 48: 116-148.

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