Nestegis montana


montana: From the Latin mons 'mountain', meaning growing on mountains

Common Name(s)

Narrow-leaved 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 montana (Hook.f.) L.A.S.Johnson



Brief Description

Tree bearing pairs of dark green very narrow smooth leaves that are pale green underneath. Leaves 4-7cm long by 0.5cm wide. Fruit red, 6-9mm 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 montana Hook.f., Gymnelaea montana (Hook.f.) L.A.S.Johnson


Endemic. North and South Islands from near Kaitaia south to the Waimea Plain Nelson. Scarce in the southern North Island (where it is most common in the eastern Wairarapa) and very uncommon in the South Island).


Widespread though rarely abundant in coastal to montane forest. Often found on steep hill slopes and ridge lines but also can be locally common in riparian forest especially on the margins of forest flats and tomo or dolines in karst country. Narrow-leaved maire is unusually common on the sand country of the Pouto Peninsula where it can at times dominate local coastal forest (e.g., Tapu Bush - see Wright and Young 1991).


Gynodioecious(?) canopy tree up to 15 m tall, usually forming a domed canopy; trunk up to c.0.6 m diameter; occasional bearing 2 or more trunks from base these slender, straight, somewhat spreading, bark firm (not flaking), grey-brown to red-brown, tessellated. branches slender, upright to spreading; branchlets glabrous; branchlets glabrescent (with young growth initially minutely weakly pubescent). Leaves glabrous, coriaceous, dark glossy green above, paler beneath, margins plane (rarely weakly undulating), entire with midrib slightly raised above and below (side veins not evident when leaf fresh); borne on flexible, slender petioles 2-3(-5) mm long; lamina of juveniles 50-100 × 4-10 mm, narrowly linear, linear to linear-lanceolate, apex acute (rarely obtuse); adult lamina 40-80(-100) × 4-8 mm, narrow-linear to very narrowly-lanceolate, apex acute or, rarely, obtuse, base cuneately narrowed or attenuate. Inflorescence a 5-10-flowered raceme, rhachis and pedicels slender, mostly glabrous (sometimes sparsely, minutely puberulent). Male flowers with shallowly lobed calyx, lobes ovate-triangular, acute, anthers 2, exserted, ovary usually rudimentary (rarely functional). Female flowers similar but with anthers rudimentary (sometimes functional). Drupe 6-14 mm long, narrowly ovoid, flesh pinkish red, red or orange; endocarp 6.5-12.0 × 3.0-4.5 mm, dull, pale orange-yellow, elliptic. Seed purple-brown. Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Webb & Simpson (2001).

Similar Taxa

Mature trees are easily distinguished from the other three species of maire (Nestegis) by their distinctive linear, linear-lanceolate leaves, and much smaller fruits (6-14 mm in N. montana, 10-18 mm in N. apetala, 15-20 mm in N. cunninghamii and 10-18 mm in N. lanceolata)


November - January

Flower Colours



December - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. An attractive small tree that makes an excellent specimen tree for a large garden or street avenue. Once established Nestegis montana is extremely tolerant of drought and frost. However, plants do best when planted in semi-shade in a position where they can grow into the light but they are remarkably tolerant of being planted into full sun. This tree deserves to be grown more widely than it is. However, it is rarely available from plant nurseries, even those that specialize in native plants.


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.

Wright, A.E.; Young, M.E. 1991. Vascular plants of Tapu Bush, North Kaipara Harbour. Auckland Botanical Society Journal 46 (2): 70-72

This page last updated on 6 Dec 2014