Syzygium maire


Syzygium: From the Greek syzygos 'joined', referring to the paired leaves

Common Name(s)

Swamp maire, Maire tawake, Waiwaka

Current Conservation Status

2018 - Threatened - Nationally Critical

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

2012 - Not Threatened
2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Syzygium maire (A.Cunn.) Sykes et Garn.-Jones



Brief Description

Tree with pale bark and sometimes erect aerial roots bearing pairs of yellowish-green oval pointed leaves and white brushy flowers and red blunt-tipped fruit inhabiting wet sites in warmer parts of New Zealand. Leaves 4-5cm long by 1-1.5cm wide. Flowers 1cm wide and with many projecting white filaments, in clusters.

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


Eugenia maire A.Cunn.


Endemic. North and South Island from Te Paki south to Rarangi (near Blenheim). Now often scarce or absent over large parts of its former range due to the clearance of swamp forest.


Mostly found in coastal and lowland riparian forest in waterlogged ground, on the margins of swamps and streamsides. Also found in some of montane forest and cloud forest of Northland (e.g., Tutamoe), the western Waikato (Pirongia, Taumatatotara and Tawarau) and the lower margins of Egmont National Park where high rainfall and poor drainage provide ideal conditions for this tree to establish on hill slopes, tablelands and with karst landscapes.


Glabrous tree to c.16 m high. Trunk up to 0.8 m dbh, solitary or with several arising from base, often with knees and where the root plate is exposed frequently bearing pneumatophores. Bark smooth, pinkish grey, grey-brown or white, flaking in soft or brittle, irregular shards. branches numerous, spreading, branchlets numerous, spreading, 4-angled. Leaves opposite, subcoriaceous, adaxially yellow-green to green, glossy often bearing small galls and leaf blisters, midrib impressed, side veins slightly impressed scarcely evident when veiwed from above; abaxial surface pale green, midrib prominently raised, side veins evident when fresh or dried; margins entire, sinuate or undulate; petioles 5-10 mm long, slender, brittle. Lamina 15-60 × 10-25 mm, usually elliptic, sometimes broadly elliptic. Inflorescences in cymose 5-30-flowered clusters,up to 100 mm diameter. Pseudopedicels slender. Hypanthium 2-3 mm long at anthesis, obconic; calyx lobes very short and broad, persistent on fruit. Petals 2-3 mm diameter, orbicular, white, forming calyptrum in bud, caducous. Stamens numerous, 5-12(-18) mm long, white, in 6-8 (or more) indistinct whorls, filaments 4.5-17.5 mm long, white, anthers basifixed, pollen white. Style 5-18 mm long,distinctly broader than stamens and tapering, cream to yellow-green. Ovary adnate to base of hypanthium. Fruit 10-15 mm diameter, subglobose, broad-ellipsoid or elliptic-ovoid, flesh deep crimson, glossy. Seed 1, 6-11 mm long, obovate, testa dull, very hard, covered in fibres, striped pale orange-yellow and pale brown, brown or grey-brown.

Similar Taxa

Syzygium maire is unlikely to be confused with any other indigenous plant. It could possibly be confused with monkey apple (S. smithii) which sometimes grows with S. maire in urban forest remnants, and which differs from S. maire by the calyx lobes which are fused into the calyptrum rather than free, and also by the divergent rather than parallel anther sacs


November - July

Flower Colours



January - December

Propagation Technique

Can be grown from seeds and cuttings. Cuttings are, as a rule, fickle. Seed will germinate readily if the fruits are first steeped in water and the fleshy covering allowed to rot off. Seed can then be sown on damp potting mix (ideally in trays partially immersed in water - which must never be allowed to dry out). Seedlings are delicate and resent root disturbance so need to be treated carefully when pricking out. Nevertheless once seedlings have established (after they have reached 500 mm or more tall) they are easily handled, provided they aren't allowed to dry out. Syzygium maire is a beautiful tree for a waterlogged situation and will flourish in shaded or sunny situations. It is, however, frost tender and drought intolerant.


Conservation status raised to Nationally Critical in 2017, following the arrival of myrtle rust in NZ.  In addition, many populations now qualify as "Living Dead" as they persist (and are in slow terminal decline) as remnants within partially drained farmland (previously riparian forest). 

Chromosome No.

2n = 22

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family




Factsheet prepared by: P.J. de Lange (5 November 2005). Description based on Webb et al. (1988), Webb & Simpson (2001) and observations made from fresh material. Status updated 1 Nov 2019 by C C Ogle, following https://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/science-and-technical/nztcs22entire.pdf

References and further reading

Cameron, E.K., Cutting, M. 1995. Maire tawake at Browns bay Auckland. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 50: 66-70.  

Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2011: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.

Webb, C. J.; Sykes, W. R.; Garnock-Jones, P. J. 1988: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. IV. Naturalised Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons. Christchurch, New Zealand, Botany Division, D.S.I.R.

This page last updated on 1 Nov 2019