Pseudowintera colorata


Pseudowintera: false Wintera (a related genus)
colorata: coloured

Common Name(s)

Red horopito, mountain horopito, alpine peppertree

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


Pseudowintera colorata (Raoul) Dandy



Brief Description

Dark shrub with pepper-tasting leaves blotched red above and coloured white underneath

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


Drimys colorata Raoul, Drimys axillaris var. colorata (Raoul) Kirk, Wintera colorata Tiegh.


Endemic. North, South and Stewart Islands


Coastal, lowland, or montane forest margins and shrubland


Shrub to 3.5 m tall; trunks and branches upright; bark dark; branchlets dark. Plants glabrous. Petiole slender, 5-10 mm long, dark reddish brown. Leaves alternate, pungent and pepper-tasting; midvein inconspicuous above, raised below; lamina 2-6(-8) x 1-3 cm, elliptic, margin undulate, tip obtuse to subacute, coriaceous, upper surface matt green to yellowish-green, blotched with red in exposed situations, undersides glaucous to white and often pink-flushed. Inflorescences axillary, flowers bisexual, c. 1 cm diam., in fascicles of 1-3, on slender pedicels 5-10 mm long, bracts ciliate. Calyx cupule margins subentire to shallowly lobed. Corolla comprised of 5-(6) free petals, these 4-5 mm long, linear to narrow-oblong, greenish yellow, apex obtuse. Carpels 1-5, us. 1-2 maturing, stigma apical. Stamens 5-20. Fruit a 2-3-seeded fleshy globose to subglobose berry, 5-6 mm diam., dark red or black, flesh red. Seed 1- or 3-angled, obovate to elliptic, 2.6-3.6 mm, surface irrregular.

Similar Taxa

Most similar in appearance to P. axillaris which has shining green leaves that are not white underneath and the rare P. insperata of Northland which often has small hairs on the leaf underside and has 13-22 stamens. Neither of these 2 species have leaves that are particularly peppery to taste.



Flower Colours





Not Threatened. Often one of the few shrub species in heavily browsed forests

Chromosome No.

2n = 86

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Description adapted from Allan (1961, Heenan and de Lange (2006), Eagle (2000), Webb and Simpson (2001).

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand. Government Printer, Wellington;

Heenan, P.B, de Lange, P.J. 2006. Pseudowintera insperata (Winteraceae), an overlooked and rare new species from northern New Zealand. NZ J. Botany 44: 89-98;

Eagle, A. 2000. Eagle's complete trees and shrubs of NZ. Te Papa Press, Wellington;

Webb, C.J. &  Simpson, M.J.A. 2001. Seeds of NZ gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Manuka Press, Christchurch.

This page last updated on 6 Dec 2014