Hymenophyllum villosum


Hymenophyllum: Membranous leaf, from the Greek humen and phullon

Common Name(s)

Hairy 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 villosum 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



Mecodium villosum (Colenso) Copel.


Endemic. New Zealand: North, South, Stewart, Chatham, Campbell and Auckland Islands. From Te Moehau and Mt Pirongia south becoming more common in the southern North island. widespread through the remaining islands.


Montane to subalpine in closed forest and subalpine scrub. Usually epiphytic, occasionally on rotting logs, mossy hummocks, rocks and cliff faces.


Terrestrial or epiphytic fern forming dense patches on suitable substrates. Rhizomes long-creeping, slender. Frond dark green, strongly aromatic, scent somewhat sanguinely metallic (especially when dry). Stipes 20-90 mm long, slender; stipes, rachises and laminae copiously covered in hairs, narrowly winged for most of length, black, wing often zig-zagged in upper portion. Laminae 50-180(-240) × 20-100 mm, narrowly ovate, elliptic to narrowly elliptic-deltoid, 3-4-pinnate, glabrescent. Ultimate segments 0.25-0.75 mm wide, oblong, margins entire though usually undulose especially toward distal portion of frond. Sori on short branches in distal portion of frond, many borne on each primary pinna. Indusium narrowly ovoid to ellipsoid, abaxially smooth; indusial flaps entire. Receptacle included. Description adapted from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).

Similar Taxa

Closely allied to Hymenophyllum sanguinolentum from which it differs by its smaller over all dimensions, more finely divided fronds with narrower ultimate segments; by the copiously hairy stipes, rachises and laminae; and by the abaxially smooth rather than crested surfaces of the indusia. In some parts of its range is can be found growing syntopically with Hymenophyllum sanguinolentum, whilst in other locations, like the Chatham Islands it grows in apparent isolation from H. sanguinolentum which is not known there.



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 (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