Nestegis lanceolata


lanceolata: Lance-shaped

Common Name(s)

White maire

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


Nestegis lanceolata (Hook.f.) L.A.S.Johnson



Brief Description

Tree bearing pairs of dark green narrow smooth leaves that are pale green underneath. Leaves 5-9cm long by 1-2.5cm wide. Fruit red, 8-11mm long, containing a single seed.

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


Olea lanceolata Hook.f.; Gymnelaea lanceolata (Hook.f.) L.A.S.Johnson


Endemic. North and South Islands. Widespread and common in the North Island except in the southern part of range (Horowhenua, southern Wairarapa and Wellington areas). Very uncommon in the South Island where it is locally present in the Marlborough Sounds, reaching its southern limit along the Tuamarina River.


Widespread in coastal to montane forest. Commonly found on steep hill slopes and ridge lines but also can be locally common in riparian forest. As a rule white maire tends to avoid frost-prone habitats and sites that frequently flood. In the northern part of its range it is often found with narrow-leaved maire (Nestegis montana) and black maire (Nestegis cunninghamii). In some parts of eastern Northland it is also found in coastal forest with Nestegis apetala.


Stout gynodioecious spreading tree up to 20 m tall usually forming a domed canopy; trunk up to c. 1 m diameter; often with several arising from base, these usually straight to somewhat arching, bark firm (not flaking), grey-brown to dark brown, tessellated. Branches slender, upright to spreading; branchlets glabrescent. Leaves glabrous, coriaceous, dark green above and ± glossy, paler beneath, margins plane (rarely weakly undulating), entire with weakly impressed to slightly raised midrib (side veins not evident when leaf fresh); borne on flexible but stout petioles 5-10 mm long; lamina of juveniles 100-400 × 4-10 mm,narrowly linear to linear, apex acute sometimes acuminate; adults lamina 40-80(-100) × 10-30 mm, narrow-ovate, ovate-lanceolate to narrow-elliptic, apex acute to subacuminate, base cuneately narrowed or attenuate; midrib ± raised to weakly impressed above, somewhat prominent below. Inflorescence a 5-10(-14)-flowered raceme, 10-20 mm long; rhachis and pedicels glabrous or minutely puberulent. Male flowers with 2(-4) exserted anthers > 2 mm long, ovary usually rudimentary (occasionally functional); female flowers with large 2-lobed stigma and more deeply lobed calyx, anthers if present rudimentary. Drupe 10-18 mm long, oblong-ovoid to ovoid, flesh pink, red, pinkish-red or orange; endocarp 6.0-15 × 3.5-9.5 mm, dull, pale orange-yellow, oblong, sometimes ovate or narrowly oblong-elliptic. Seed purple-brown. Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Webb & Simpson (2001).

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from Nestegis apetala by its linear juvenile leaves, and much narrower adult leaves. From Nestegis cunninghamii it differs by the non-bullate leaves whose side-veins are not conspicuous, and whose midrib is scarcely impressed above. Distinguishing juvenile Nestegis lanceolata from N. montana is extremely difficult but the leaves of the adults serve to separate them, those of N. montana are 35-90 × 6-9 mm, linear; those of N. lanceolata 40-80(-100) × 10-30 mm. The drupes of N. montana are up to 12 mm long those of N. lanceolata 18mm long. Similarly juvenile black maire and white maire can look very similar, however, the upper leaf surface of black maire juveniles is dull while those of white maire are glossy. The adult branchlets of white maire tend to be glabrous or minutely and sparsely puberulent whilst those of black maire are distinctly pubescent.


November - January

Flower Colours



December - February

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. Difficult from cuttings. White maire deserves to be more widely grown as it makes an excellent specimen or street tree and once established is remarkably drought tolerant. The fruit is avidly eaten by many birds especially kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae).


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 18 Nov 2014