Palhinhaea polycephala (Colenso) Holub; Lycopodium cernuum L.; Lepidotis cernua (L.) P.Beauv.; Lycopodium polycephalum Colenso; Lycopodiella cernua (L.) Pic. Serm.
Vascular – Native
Lycophytes (clubmosses, selaginella, quillworts)
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 = c.200
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 | Not Threatened | Qualifiers: SO
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Indigenous. New Zealand. Kermadec, North, South, Chatham Islands (common from Te Paki south to Lake Taupo thence scarce reaching a southern limit at about Okarito). Also Australia, Pacific Islands and throughout the tropics and subtropics.
Coastal to montane on clay banks, in gumland, on consolidated sand dunes, kauri clay podzols, road side banks, in thermal scrub and around active fumaroles and craters
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).
Commonly occurs as either a hydrophyte or non-hydrophyte (non-wetlands).
Terrestrial (rarely epiphytic) scrambling plants. Main stem up to 8 m long, creeping or looping over ground and rooting at pionts of contact. Aerial stems arising between rooting points, usually 1 per loop, 0.3-1(-2) m tall, dendroid, erect, much-branched, occasionally climbing, with apices curled over, glabrous or hairy. Sterile leaves spirally arranged to subwhorled, clustered, 1.5-5.0 mm long, 0.2-1.0 mm wide, linear to narrowly triangular, acuminate, curved towards shoot apices, green to yellowish green or yellow. Strobili numerous, solitary, terminal and sessile, 5-15 mm long, yellow. Sporophylls imbricate, ovate, acuminate, pale yellow; margins ciliate. Description adapted from Chinnock (1998) and Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).
Easily distinguished from all other New Zealand representatives of the faily by the extensive, looping main stems, “furry” aerial stems, and drooping strobili
Easily grown from rooted pieces but resents root disturbance so needs to be transplanted carefully. Once established Palhinhaea cernua is remarkably tolerant of dry conditions. This species is frost sensitive.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 16 March 2011. Description adapted from Chinnock (1998) and 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
Chinnock, R.J. 1998: Lycopodiaceae. Flora of Australia 48: 66-85.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Palhinhaea cernua Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/palhinhaea-cernua/ (Date website was queried)