Pneumatopteris pennigera

Common Name(s)

gully fern, feather fern, piupiu

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


Pneumatopteris pennigera (G. Forst.) Holttum



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



Cyclosorus pennigera (G. Forst.) Ching; Thelypteris pennigera (G. Forst.) Allan; Dryopteris pennigera var. hamiltoni (Colenso) Cheeseman; Polypodium pennigerum var. hamiltonii Colenso; Polypodium pennigerum var. giganteum Colenso; Polystichum pennigerum (G.Forst.) Gaudich. in Freyc.; Phegopteris cunninghamii Mett.; Polypodium pennigerum G.Forst.; Polypodium subsimilis Colenso; Goniopteris pennigera (G.Forst.) J.Sm.; Lastrea pennigera (G.Forst.) C.Presl; Nephrodium pennigerum (G.Forst.) C.Presl;Cyclosorus pennigerus (G.Forst.) Ching; Dryopteris pennigera (G.Forst.) C.Chr.; Goniopteris forsteri T.Moore; Aspidium cunninghamii Kunze; Aspidium novae-zeelandiae Ettingsh.; Aspidium pennigerum (G.Forst.) Sw.


Indigenous. New Zealand: Three Kings, North, South, Chatham Islands. Also Australia.


Coastal to montane, usually in dense forest in riparian habitats or in gullies, or on frequently flooded ground. A common fern under willows (Salix spp.). Often found along waterways in urban wasteland, Although usually found in shaded situations Pneumatopteris will tolerate considerable exposure provided its roots are in a permanently damp situation.


Delicate, terrestrial fern. Rhizome slender, erect, 0.3–1.0 m tall, scaly; scales broad, brown, glabrous. Fronds 0.4–1.2 m long, pale yellow-green to bright green. Stipe 0.15–0.3(–0.45) m long, pale brown or green-brown. Lamina narrowly elliptic to elliptic, to 0.3–1.1(–1.5) m long; pinnae to 36 pairs; basal 4–5 pairs gradually reduced; lowest pinnae 10–30 mm long, 15–30 mm wide; largest pinnae c.100 mm long, 30 mm wide at auriculate base, lobed more than ½-way to costae; lobes oblique, tapering, minutely dentate; costules 5–7 mm apart; veins usually 6 pairs, 1 pair anastomosing, with next acroscopic vein sometimes passing to the sinus membrane. Lamina ± glabrous, aside from pale brown ovate scales on abaxial surface of costae of emergent and young fronds, and sparse brown acicular hairs and colourless capitate hairs on adaxial surface of rachis, costae and margins. Sori inframedial, exindusiate; sporangia without capitate hairs near annulus.

Similar Taxa

Pneumatopteris is superficially similar to Christella (with which it sometimes grows). From Christella it is most reliably distinguished by abaxially glabrous fronds (hairy in Christella) and absence of an indusia (present in Christella).


Not Applicable - Spore Producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not Applicable - Spore Producing

Propagation Technique

Easily grown provided it is planted in a permnantly moist soil, in a shaded site, and sheltered from frost.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 144

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family





Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (13 November 2012). Description adapted from Bostock (1998) and Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).

References and further reading

Bostock, P.D. 1998: Thelypteridaceae. Flora of Australia 48: 327–358.

Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants. Auckland, David Bateman

This page last updated on 11 Aug 2014