Giant hypolepis, ground fern (Norfolk Island only)
Hypolepis tenuifolia sensu Hook.f.; Hypolepis tenuifolia var. pellucida (Colenso) Hook.; Cheilanthes dicksonioides Endl.; Cheilanthes pellucida Colenso; Hypolepis endlicheriana C.Presl
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.
2n = 208
Current conservation status
The threat classification status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: EF, SO, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: EF, SO, Sp
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: SO, EF
2004 | Sparse
Indigenous. Kermadec Islands (Raoul, Macauley Islands). New Zealand: Three Kings, North, South and Rekohu (Chatham Island). Known in the North Island from Te Paki south to Wellington but mainly coastal and absent from large parts of the island (it has also been recorded as a ‘weed’ in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Wellington). Locally common around Geothermal areas of the Taupo Volcanic Zone. In the South Island known only from the coast north-west Nelson and northern Westland. Present on Norfolk, Samoa, Tahiti. Cook and the Marquesas islands.
A weedy speces of coastal, lowland and geothermal habitats. Naturally short-lived, plants may appear as and when suitable habitat is generated following disturbance. As such this species has also appeared in urban situations and can from time to time be found growing in cities on rock walls, in bark gardens, or even protruding from cracks in asphalt pavements. It has also been recorded as a weed in garden centres.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
FACU: Facultative Upland
Occasionally is a hydrophyte but usually occurs in uplands (non-wetlands).
Rhizome long-creeping, (3–)4–8 mm diam., densely covered in pale brown hairs near growing apex, more scattered and becoming red-brown elsewhere, giving rise to stipes at intervals of 1.0–2.8 m. Stipes (0.15–)0.2–1.0 m long, (2–)5–15 mm diam., red-brown at base, becoming pale red-brown or yellow-brown above, bearing red-brown hairs at very base, soon replaced by colourless glandular and eglandular hairs (up to 5 mm long on uncoiling fronds); two dark, prominent, vertical bands on opposite sides of stipe. Laminae broadly ovate or elliptic (0.02–)0.035–1.35 × (0.015–)0.035–1.1 m, bipinnate at apex, 4 or 5-pinnate at base. Rachis yellow-brown at base, green at apex, bearing colourless glandular and eglandular hairs (up to 3 mm long). Primary pinnae in 15–30 pairs, opposite or subopposite, lower pair arising at 3–50° to stem; longest pair below middle, usually basal, (110–)200–700 × (70–)140–450 mm; lowest ones (50–)100–400 mm apart, middle ones 2–5 mm apart; upper ones narrowly ovate, lower ones ovate. Secondary pinnae ovate, (45–)70–300 × 30–150 mm, those on the lower pinnae decreasing markedly in length along the pinnae. Tertiary pinnae ovate, (16–)20–80 × (7–)10–35 mm, midrib winged. Quaternary pinnae narrowly ovate, 7–16 × 2–6 mm, shallowly incised on smaller specimens, divided into 4–5 pairs of ultimate segments on larger specimens. Veins reaching margin at a tooth apex, or sometimes ending just short of margin. Hairs: colourless glandular and eglandular hairs on midribs and veins of both lamina j surfaces but absent from margins, 0.3–1.5 mm long. Sori on upper margin of each ultimate segment, situated at vein endings, protected by obvious reflexed flaps (green at base, membranous at apex, incised); protected from earliest stages. Spores pale brown, echinate.
Could only be confused with H. ambigua from which it can be immediately recognised by its very much larger, more finely divided, extremely glandular sticky, deltoid fronds, thicker stipes, and conspicuous reflexed membranous indusia. The fronds are often so sticky that insects, dirt, feathers and hair is trapped on them.
Not applicable - spore producing
Not applicable - spore producing
Minute spores are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from fresh spores. Inclined to become invasive and weedy in garden situations. Despite this the extremely robust, strongly deltoid, bright green fronds are rather attractive. It is naturally rather short-lived but rapidly establishes by spores in ideal situations. It is frost tender although established plants merely die back during winter.
Hypolepis dicksonioides is a short-lived, naturally ephemeral, opportunistic species, which requires frequnet disturbance to create fresh habitats to colonise. As such it is naturally uncommon, and biologically sparse. In the main islands of New Zealand it is usually scarce. However, on the Kermadec Islands, especially Macauley Island it forms the dominant vegetation.
hypolepis: From the greek hypo (under) and lepis (scale), referring to the position of the sori on the ferns
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (1 February 2005). Description from Brownsey & Chinnock (1984).
References and further reading
Brownsey, P.J.; Chinnock, R.J. 1984: A Taxonomic revision of the New Zealand species of Hypolepis. New Zealand Journal of Botany 22: 43-80.
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
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Hypolepis dicksonioides Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/hypolepis-dicksonioides/ (Date website was queried)