Myrsine salicina


Myrsine: myrrh
salicina: willow-like

Common Name(s)


Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Myrsine salicina Hew. ex Hook.f.



Brief Description

Small upright tree bearing long narrow smooth leaves that are erect and reddish-yellow when young. Leaves 7-18cm long by 2-3cm wide, with a smooth edge. Fruit red to purple, 8-9mm long.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


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.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Suttonia salicina Hook.f., Rapanea salicina (Hook.f.) Mez


Endemic. North, South Islands from Te Paki to about Hokitika


Coastal to montane in forest (rarely shrubland along riversides). On occasion Myrsine salicina may form a major part of forest canopy along stream sides.


Small diffuse to moderately densely branched conical, gynodioecious tree up to 10 m tall. Branches stout, upright, glabrous. Bark firm (not flaking) dark red, maroon-red to almost black. Leaves, fleshy-coriaceous, adaxially dark green, yellow-green or pale pinkish-green, usually blemished with maroon spots, abaxially pink to wine-red or pale green, blemising on adaxial surface apparent on abaxial surface, margins entire, flat or very slightly recurved, midrib deeply impressed adaxially, prominent ridged abaxially (side veins not evident when fresh); petioles 10-14 mm long, fleshy, stout, flattened. Lamina 70-180 × 20-30 mm, narrow-elliptic, narrow-oblong, to linear-oblong, apex obtuse, base attenuate to cuneately narrowed (gradually tapering to base). Inflorescences in ± dense 10-15(-20)-flowered fascicles. Pistillate flowers; greenish yellow to cream with maroon spotting or wine-red with purple-black spotting; calyx 1.3-1.9 mm,tube 0.2-0.6 mm, lobes 4-5, 0.7-1.0 x 0.6-0.8 mm, oblong to ± triangular, apex acute to subacute, margins minutely ciliolate; corolla 2.8-4.2 mm, tube 0.2-0.3 mm,lobes 4-5(-6), 2.0-2.4 x 1.0 mm, elliptic, apex acute. Antherodes malformed, 0.82-1.10 x 0.5-0.6 mm, apiculus strongly recurved; pollen absent. Ovary 1 x 1 mm. Stigma 0.30-0.48 mm high, spreading, outer parts appressed to ovary ± 2.5 mm diameter. Bisexual flowers with the same colouration; calyx 1.6-2.0 mm, tube 0.4-0.7 mm, lobes 4-5, 0.7-1.1 x 0.6-0.9 mm, oblong, apex acute, margins minutely ciliolate. Corolla 3.0-4.2 mm, tube 0.3-0.6 mm, lobes 4-5, 2.6-2.8 x 1.0-1.4 mm, elliptic, apex acute. Anthers 1.1-1.8 x 0.8-1.2 mm, apiculus upright; pollen white. Ovary 0.7-0.9 x 0.8-1.0 mm. Stigma 0.8-0.85 mm high, upright. Drupe (5-)8-9 mm long, obovoid, flesh red to orange (rarely maroon), on pedicels 8-10 mm long. Endocarp 5.0-6.7 × 3.5-4.5 mm, obovate to broadly obovate, dull, buff to buff brown, orange-brown or henna, bearing 1(-2) seeds.

Similar Taxa

Myrsine salicina is easily recognised by its 70-180 × 20-30 mm long, narrow-elliptic, narrow-oblong, to linear-oblong leaves with obtuse apices. It could be confused with toru (Toronia toru) which has adaxially very glossy, and coloured linear-lanceolate, yellow-green to dark green often red-tinged or spotted leaves (consider also the Maori name of that tree "toru" vs "toro" for Myrsine salicina). However the leaf apices of toru are abruptly acute to apiculate (never obtuse). The flowers of toru are also highly distinctive, being brownish-yellow to yellow and borne in 40-60 mm long, 6-12-flowered racemes. Toru is rarely found in the types of habitats frequent by toro (Myrsine salicina).


August - January

Flower Colours



September - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. Can be grown from semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings though these can be slow to strike. An attractive small tree that does best in a semi-shaded site planted in deep, fertile, moist soil. It is remarkably shade and cold tolerant.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 46

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 9 February 2011. Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Webb & Simpson (2001).

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Wellington, Government Printer.

Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.

This page last updated on 6 Dec 2014