Nature conservation

Threatened species

Cheilanthes sieberi subsp. pseudovellea - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Cheilanthes sieberi subsp. pseudovellea
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 01 Nov 2022


Perennial fern covered with entire brown scales, with a creeping wiry underground stem (rhizome). Fronds crowded, hairy on both sides with twisted white to brown branched hairs but not so dense as to be woolly, divided into lobes, 8-15 cm high, 2-3 cm wide, stalks red-brown and shiny. Reproducing by spores contained within black fruiting bodies (sori) borne on the under surface of the fronds along the margins.


One NSW specimen was recorded in 1952 and re-confirmed from Mount Foster North-west of Warren along with more recent records from an adjacent hill. Recent re-examination of specimens suggest a wide former distribution across NSW. Very widely distributed across Australia, e.g. Mount Olga and the Kimberley, MacDonnell and Musgrave Ranges.

Habitat and ecology

  • This fern grows in soil pockets in rocky areas of arid mountain ranges. Specific habitats include shaded rock crevices, under rock ledges and between boulders in damp, shallow soils.
  • Spores of this taxon germinated 12 days after sowing and grew into small, 1-2 mm wide gametophytes that bore no antheridia or archegonia. A small swelling developed on the underside of the prothallus about 8 weeks after sowing and developed into the first leaf of the young sporophyte.
  • In other states the fern is usually common where it grows. Around Mt. Foster it is recorded mostly in small clusters of 2-4 plants but can occur in groups of 10-30 plants.
  • In NSW the species is often growing in association with other Cheilanthes species (C. lasiophylla, C. distans) as well as C. sieberi subsp. sieberi, which makes positive identification in the field problematic. It is likely that C. sieberi spp. pseudovellea is more widespread than current records suggest as it may have been misidentified as other taxa in the past.
  • Plants usually die off in drought and regeneration occurs after adequate seasonal rainfall.
  • A survey of Mt. Foster in 2021 after an above-average rainfall season recorded 18 different clusters totalling 118 plants. The species appeared to have a strong habitat preference for larger rock outcrops in particularly exposed areas with very shallow soil. On these larger outcrops C. sieberi ssp. pseudovellea usually grew with other Cheilanthes species though the other three Cheilanthes taxa also commonly occurred amongst small rocks across the whole mountain and did not appear to require the larger outcrops that C. sieberi ssp. pseudovellea did.

Regional distribution and habitat

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Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Darling Riverine PlainsBogan-Macquarie Known None
Other StateSA Known None