Microsorum pustulatum subsp. pustulatum
Microsorum: Variant of microsorium, meaning small sori (spores on the underside of fern fronds)
hounds tongue, kowaowao, paraharaha
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
Microsorum pustulatum (G. Forst.) Copel. subsp. pustulatum
Vascular - Native
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.
Phymatosorus pustulatus (G. Forst.) Large, Braggins et P.S. Green; Phymatosorus diversifolius (Willd.) Pic. Serm.
Indigenous. New Zealand: Kermadec Islands (Raoul, Meyers only), Three Kings, North, South, Stewart, Chatham, Auckland and Antipodes Islands. Also Australia. Abundant throughout main islands of New Zealand except for Central Otago.
A common fern of coastal to montane area, growing either on the ground, over rocks or on tree trunks and branches. Although widespread and often found growing admixed with Microsorum scandens, M. pustulatum is more drought tolerant and seems to prefer more open, drier habitats.
Epiphytic or rupestral scrambling or climbing fern. Rhizomes long-creeping, 4-10(-12) mm diameter, fleshy-succulent, yellow-green to golden brown, sometimes glaucescent maturing greyish-brown to grey-black, growing tips densely invested in brown-black appressed ± ovate scales, these entire or minutely toothed hear apex, scales shedding over time as rhizome matures leaving small scars. Fronds joined to rhizomes, very coriaceous; stipes 20-250(-340) mm long, pale brown to almost black, ± pliant when young becoming brittle with age; laminae adaxially glabrous (except for a few scales on midrib and costae), bright glossy green (yellow green in exposed sites), abaxially paler, in outline variable ranging from undivided (especially in young plants) narrowly elliptic, 70-250 × 10-30 mm to mostly pinnate, ovate, 60-450 × 40-300 mm; midrib and veins prominent, main lateral veins mostly prominent, usually with 2 or 3 series of major areoles between costa (midrib in simply fronds); hydathodes present on blind vein endings, visible mainly on upper surface; pinnae in 1-12 pairs, 30-170 × 5-40 mm, bluntly acute, margins smooth, weakly undulose to extremely so, bases adnate. Sori prominent, round (rarely elliptic), sunk into abaxial lamina causing a prominent bulge on the adaxial laminal surface, aligned in one row either side of costa, set back from pinna margins. Spores pale, bearing wart-like protuberances.
Easily recognised by the stout, widely creeping fleshy rhizomes bearing brown-black appressed scales (and which carry distinctive scars where the appressed brown-black scales have shed), and by the thick, leathery, bright glossy green fronds, broad pinnae with entire often wavy margins and distinctive conspicuously reticulate venation.
Not applicable - spore producing
Not applicable - spore producing
Easily grown from rooted pieces of rhizome. Excellent in a hanging basket, large pot, or trained to grow over rocks, and logs. Microsorum pustulatum can be easily established on the branches of suitable trees and can make a fine specimen for the average garden. Once established it rarely requires much attention and has the added bonus of being remarkable drought tolerant, disease and pest free.
2n = 74
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (13 January 2012). Description adapted from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000) and Bostock & Spokes (1998).
References and further reading
Bostock, P.D.; Spokes, T.M. 1998: Polypodiaceae. Pp. 468-495. Flora of Australia 48. Australian Biological Resources Study, CSIRO Canberra
Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants. Auckland, David Bateman
This page last updated on 10 Aug 2014