Hymenophyllum scabrum


Hymenophyllum: Membranous leaf, from the Greek humen and phullon
scabrum: rough, covered with hard short rigid points

Common Name(s)

filmy fern, rough 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 scabrum 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 scabrum (A. Rich.) Copel.; Sphaerocionium scabrum (A.Rich.) C.Presl; Diplooephyllum scabrum (A.Rich.) Bosch; Sphaerocionium glanduliferum C.Presl;


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


Coastal to montane. Usually in closed forest where it may be epiphytic or found growing on rotting logs, on moss hummocks, boulders or on the ground. Occasionally found in closed scrub.


Epiphytic and/or terrestrial fern forming widely spaced tufts of fronds along a long-creeping, slender but pliant and wiry sparsely to densely hairy rhizome. Frond dark green to olive green. Stipe 40-150(-200) mm long, stout, not winged, densely covered in bristly hairs; rachises narrowly winged in upper part, covered in copious bristly hairs. Laminae 100-400 × 50-140 mm, ovate, ovate-deltoid, 3-4-pinnate, densely to sparsely bristly hairy when young. Ultimate segments linear, margins entire. Sori terminating ultimate segments, not sunk in lamina, many on each primary pinna. Indusium broadly ovoid to almost orbicular, abaxial surfaces smooth; indusial flaps minutely toothed.

Similar Taxa

A distinctive species readily identified by the large, dark green or olive green ovate to ovate-deltoid fronds and conspicuously bristly hairy stipes. Drying and dried specimens usually faintly stain paper brown or yellow-brown.



Flower Colours

No Flowers



Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 72, 144

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 (21 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