Hymenophyllum revolutum


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 revolutum Colenso



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. cupressiforme sensu Hook.; Hymenophyllum pusillum Colenso; Hymenophyllum tunbridgense sensu A.Rich.; Hymenophyllum zeelandicum Bosch


Endemic. New Zealand: North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands.


Coastal to montane. Found throughout New Zealand usually in closed forest where it most commonly epiphytic but also found on rocks, cliff faces, fallen logs, on moss covered hummocks and sometimes on the ground.


Epiphytic and/or terrestrial fern forming in ideal situations an extensive turf-like patches on substrate. Rhizomes long-creeping, very thin, much-branched and interwoven, wiry when fresh, brittle when dry. Fronds light green. Stipes 5-30 mm long, thin, brittle, glabrescent, not winged; rachis narrowly winged in upper portion. Laminae 10-90 × 5-20 mm, narrowly elliptic to ovate, 2-3-pinnate. Ultimate segments linear to oblong, often forked, margins deeply toothed. Sori on short winged branches near rachis, 1 on acroscopic margin of each primary pinnae. Indusial flaps deeply toothed, teeth irregular. Description adapted from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).

Similar Taxa

Morphologically similar to Hymenophyllum cupressiforme and H. peltatum, species from which it is distinguished by its partially winged rachis and by the very deeply toothed indusial flaps



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 (20 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