Zealandia pustulata subsp. pustulata
hound’s tongue, kowaowao, paraharaha
Phymatosorus pustulatus (G. Forst.) Large, Braggins et P.S. Green; Phymatosorus diversifolius (Willd.) Pic. Serm.; 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.
2n = 74
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
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
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 Dendroconche scandens, Zealandia pustulata is more drought tolerant and seems to prefer more open, drier habitats.
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).
UPL: Obligate Upland
Rarely is a hydrophyte, almost always in uplands (non-wetlands).
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, pruinose 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, distinctive conspicuously reticulate venation, and deeply impressed sori. The genus Zealandia differs from Dendroconche by the usually pruinose rhizomes and holoepiphtic rather than hemiepiphytic growth habit, absence of laterally inserted climbing roots and sori which are deeply impressed in the lamina (Testo et al. 2019).
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. Zealandia pustulata 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.
The treatment of Testo et al. (2019) in which the New Zealand ferns previously treated by New Zealand authors as Microsorum (see Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth 2000) are segregated into two genera, Dendroconche and Zealandia is followed here.
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
Testo, W.L.; Field, A.R.; Sessa, E.B.; Sundue, M. 2019: Phylogenetic and morphological analyses support the resurrection of Dendroconche and the recognition of two new genera in Polypodiaceae Subfamily Microsoroideae. Systematic Botany 44(4): 1-16. DOI 10.1600/036364419X15650157948607
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Zealandia pustulata subsp. pustulata Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/zealandia-pustulata-subsp-pustulata/ (Date website was queried)