Scientific Name:
Pyrrosia Mirb. in Lamarck & Mirbel, Hist. Nat. Vég. 3, 471 (1802)
  • = Cyclophorus Desv., Mag. Neuesten Entdeck. Gesammten Naturk. Ges. Naturf. Freunde Berlin 5: 300, t. 7, fig. 4 (1811)
  • = Niphobolus Kaulf., Enum. Filic. 124 (1824) nom. illeg.
Type Taxon:
Pyrrosia chinensis Mirb. = Pyrrosia stigmosa (Sw.) Ching
From the Greek pyrrhos (tawny), a reference to the colour of the hairs on the frond.

Epiphytic or rupestral ferns.  Rhizomes long-creeping (NZ) or short-creeping (not NZ), densely scaly.  Rhizome scales non-clathrate, squarrose (NZ) or appressed (not NZ).  Fronds monomorphic or dimorphic, articulated to short stalks (phyllopodia) at intervals along the rhizome.  Laminae undivided, thick, coriaceous to succulent, covered with stellate hairs.  Veins obscure; hydathodes absent.  Sori round or slightly elongate, superficial or partly impressed into the lamina, arranged in one to many rows either side of midrib, sometimes confluent with age, often confined to distal part of lamina; paraphyses present as stellate hairs; exindusiate.  Spores monolete, bilaterally symmetrical, verrucate to tuberculate.


A genus of about 50 species.

Pyrrosia was revised by Hovenkamp (1986) and his treatment is followed here.


Three species in Africa, four in Australia, six in the Pacific, and the majority in Asia from India and China to Malesia and New Guinea. One species indigenous to New Zealand.

Indigenous (Non-endemic)
Number of species in New Zealand within Pyrrosia Mirb.
Indigenous (Endemic)1
Indigenous (Non-endemic)1

n = 36, 37, 74, 108–111 (Hovenkamp 1986).

Brownlie, G. 1961: Additional chromosome numbers – New Zealand ferns. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Botany 1: 1–4.
Brownsey, P.J.; Perrie, L.R. 2015: Polypodiaceae (excluding Notogrammitis). In: Breitwieser, I; Heenan, P.B.; Wilton, A.D. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand — Ferns and Lycophytes. Fascicle 1. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand ferns and allied plants. Edition 2. David Bateman, Auckland.
Crookes, M.W. 1963: New Zealand Ferns, ed. 6. Incorporating illustrations and original work by H.B. Dobbie. Whitcombe & Tombs, Christchurch.
Desvaux, A.N. 1811: Observations sur quelques nouveaux genres de fougères et sur plusieurs espèces nouvelles de la même famille. Magazin für die neuesten Entdeckungen in der gesammten Naturkunde, Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin 5: 297–330.
Green, P.S. 1994: Oceanic Islands, 1. Flora of Australia. Vol. 49. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra. ABRS/CSIRO, Canberra and Melbourne.
Hennipman, E.; Roos, M.C. 1982: A monograph of the fern genus Platycerium (Polypodiaceae). Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Afd. Natuurkunde Series 2, 80: 1–126.
Hennipman, E.; Veldhoen, P.; Kramer, K.U. 1990: Polypodiaceae. 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.
Hovenkamp, P.H. 1986: A monograph of the fern genus Pyrrosia (Polypodiaceae). Leiden Botanical Series 9: 1–310.
Kaulfuss, G.F. 1824: Enumeratio Filicum. Cnobloch, Leipzig.
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.
Lamarck, J.B.A.P.M de; Mirbel, C.F.B. de 1802: Histoire naturelle des végétaux, classés par familles. Vol. 3. Crapelet, Paris.