Leptopteris hymenophylloides


Leptopteris: thin fern; from the Greek leptos and pteris
hymenophylloides: resembling Hymenophyllum

Common Name(s)

Crape fern, Single crape fern, Heruheru

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


Leptopteris hymenophylloides (A.Rich.) C.Presl



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



Todea hymenophylloides A.Rich.; Todea marginata Colenso; Todea pellucida Carmich. ex Grev. et Hook.; Leptopteris marginata (Colenso) C.Chr.; Osmunda hymenophylloides (A.Rich.) J.B.Armstr.


Endemic. New Zealand: North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands from North Cape (Whiriwhiri Stream) south. Common throughout, though more abundant in the northern part of its range


Lowland to montane forest. Rarely in gumland scrub and coastal forest. Usually found along stream sides, and on damp banks, occasional on forested ridge lines. Once established this species is remarkably tolerant of drought and high light conditions and so it can be found growing as a persistent relict in disturbed forest or in areas cleared by wind throw.


Trunks up to 0.1 m tall. Stipes 0.15-0.5 m long, pale brown, sparsely hairy, with ear like lobes at base. Frond delicate, membranous, translucent, laminae ± deltoid, 3-pinnate, 0.2-1.0m long, 150-350 mm wide, dark green to light emerald green, sparsely hairy, veins free. Primary pinnae in 20-30 pairs, widely spaced, basal ones 60-120 mm long. Ultimate segments linear, flattened in plane of frond. Sporangi scattered on underside of pinnae (not in discrete sori), though tending to be more abundant toward frond centre. Description modified from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth 2000.

Similar Taxa

Leptopteris hymenophylloides differs from the closely related L. superba by its longer stipe, triangular frond, longer and broader pinnae, and by its ultimate lamina segments flattened in one plane. Where both species meet they commonly hybridise to produce the hybrid known as Leptopteris ×intermedia (André) Brownsey.



Flower Colours

No Flowers



Propagation Technique

Easily grown in a damp shaded site, in a free draining but moist, humus enriched soil.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 44

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Minute spores are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).





Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 10 March 2011. Description modified 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 5 Jun 2015