Subordinate Taxa
Scientific Name:
Leptolepia Mett. ex Prantl, Arbeiten Königl. Bot. Gart. Breslau 1: 23 (1892)
From the Greek lepto- (slender, small) and lepis (a scale), a reference to the nature of the indusia.

Terrestrial ferns. Rhizomes long-creeping, bearing chestnut-brown multicellular hairs. Fronds monomorphic. Stipes hairy. Laminae 3–4-pinnate-pinnatifid, herbaceous, bearing non-glandular hairs; primary pinnae stalked, lacking basal pinnule-like stipules. Veins free. Sori round or oblong, superficial, submarginal; paraphyses absent. Indusia ovate or triangular, attached at base but not the sides, opening towards the margin. Spores trilete, coarsely verrucate.


Leptolepia is a monotypic genus endemic to New Zealand, distinguished by its ovate or triangular, toothed indusium attached only at the base and opening towards the margin. Leptolepia novae-zelandiae nests with Oenotrichia maxima in one of the clades of Dennstaedtia (Perrie et al. 2015). However, it is currently far from clear what the generic limits should be in this part of the Dennstaedtiaceae, and Leptolepia is retained here as a monotypic genus until the group is investigated further.


A monotypic genus endemic to New Zealand.

Indigenous (Endemic)
Number of species in New Zealand within Leptolepia Mett. ex Prantl
Indigenous (Endemic)1

The base chromosome number in Leptolepia is x = 47 (Kramer 1990).


Authorship of the name Leptolepia was previously attributed to Mett. ex Kuhn (e.g. Allan 1961), but Pichi Sermolli (1978) noted that that name was a nomen nudum not validly published by Kuhn (1882).

Brownsey, P.J.; Perrie, L.R. 2018: Dennstaedtiaceae. In: Breitwieser, I.; Wilton, A.D. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand — Ferns and Lycophytes. Fascicle 19. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Brownsey, P.J.; Perrie, L.R. 2022: Dennstaedtiaceae. Edition 2. In: Glenny, D. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand - Ferns and Lycophytes. Fascicle 19. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Kramer, K.U. 1990: Dennstaedtiaceae. In: Kramer, K.U.; Green, P.S. Pteridophytes and gymnosperms. Vol. 1. In: Kubitzki, K. (ed.) The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Kramer, K.U.; Green, P.S. 1990: Pteridophytes and gymnosperms. Kubitzki, K. (ed.) The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. Vol. 1. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Kuhn, F.A.M. 1882: Die Gruppe der Chaetopterides unter den Polypodiaceen. In: Festschrift zu dem Fünfzigjährigen Jubiläum der Königstädtischen Realschule zu Berlin. Winckelmann, Berlin. 322–348.
Perrie, L.R.; Shepherd, L.D.; Brownsey, P.J. 2015: An expanded phylogeny of the Dennstaedtiaceae ferns: Oenotrichia falls within a non-monophyletic Dennstaedtia, and Saccoloma is polyphyletic. Australian Systematic Botany 28: 256–264.
Pichi Sermolli, R.E.G. 1978: Pteridophytorum nomina generica invalida. Webbia 32: 341–353.
Prantl, K.A.E. 1892: Das System der Farne. Arbeiten aus dem Königl. Botanischen Garten zu Breslau 1: 1–38.