Pimelea gnidia


Pimelea: from the Greek pimele, referring to the seeds
gnidia: Named after the genus Gnidia which is also in the Thymelaeaceae family. Gnidia is named after Gnidus, a town in Crete.

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


Pimelea gnidia (J.R.Forst. et G.Forst.) Willd.



Brief Description

Shrub to 1.5m tall with reddish twigs bearing pairs of bright green pointed leaves and hairy white flowers inhabiting higher rainfall upland (or sea level in deep south) areas from the Tararua Range to Fiordland. Leaves 5-35mm long by 2-7mm wide. Flowers to 5.5mm long. Fruit dry, enclosing black 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


Banksia gnidia J.R.Forst. et G.Forst.; Passerina gnidia L.f.; Cookia gnidia J.F.Gmel.; Pimelea gnidia var. menziesii Hook. f.; Pimelea crosby-smithiana Petrie


Endemic. New Zealand: North (southern third), and South Island (westerly from Nelson to Fiordland)


Coastal and lowland (southern part of range only) otherwise montane to subalpine. On rock, rock debris, leached acidic mineral soil, and peaty loam in open forest, forest margins and scrub on stream margins, landslides, valley heads, moraines, heathlands, burnt forest areas.


An erect to suberect much-branched shrub up to 1.5 m tall (reduced in stature on exposed sites and poor soils). Branches and branchlets ascending, glabrous or sparsely hairy at leaf axils and hairy on receptacles; internodes usually short. Node buttresses, brown or black, occupy the whole internode and may be prominent after leaf fall; internodes 2–7 mm long. Bark ages to grey. Leaves decussate, ascending, later sometimes patent or deflexed, often imbricate, on petioles 1–3 mm long. Lamina pale to medium or olive green, coriaceous, elliptic, ovate or sometimes oblong, obovate or lanceolate, 5–35 × 2–7 mm, keeled, acute, blunt-pointed or slightly apiculate, base cuneate. Margins thickened, slightly down-turned; midvein prominent abaxially, sunken above; lateral vein pattern camptodromus but not clearly evident; stomata only on under side. Inflorescences few to many-flowered, pedicels 1–2 mm long, persistent. Involucral bracts 4, similar to leaves but usually wider. Plants gynodioecious. Flowers hairy on outside; inside hairless, fragrant, white or flushed rose, sometimes wholly pink often with lower tube red. Calyx lobes open in salverform fashion. Female tube to 5.5 mm long, ovary portion 3 mm, calyx lobes 3.5 × 1.8 mm. female tube to 9 mm long, ovary portion 3.5 mm, calyx lobes 3.2 × 1.8 mm; staminodes short, at mouth of tube. Anther filaments inserted below mouth of tube; anthers yellow. Ovary with short hairs at summit and to about half-way down. Fruits ovoid, green, drying brown, 4 mm long. Seeds ovoid 3.4 × 1.6 mm. The dried hypanthia disperse with fruits inside.

Similar Taxa

Very close to P. longifolia (it could be considered an upland form of that species) from which it differs by its smaller leaves, shorter flowers and preference for mostly subalpine habitats. Pimelea gnidia is only coastal in the southern part of its range where P. longifolia is not known. Both species are said to frequently hybridise (see Burrows 2008).


October - January

Flower Colours

Red / Pink,White


December - April

Propagation Technique

Fickle. Can be grown from cuttings, and occasionally seed germinates in garden conditions. Does best in full sun on a well drained soil. However, even well established plants are prone to sudden collapse.


Not Threatened

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commericially available.

Taxonomic notes

Pimelea crosby-smithiana previously regarded as a distinct species is now regarded as part of the natural variation of P. gnidia.


Description based on Burrows (2008).

References and further reading

Burrows, C.J. 2008: Genus Pimelea (Thymelaeaceae) in New Zealand 1. The taxonomic treatment of seven endemic, glabrous-leaved species. New Zealand Journal of Botany 46: 127-176. 

This page last updated on 6 Jan 2019