Hoheria angustifolia


Hoheria: Latin version of the Maori name houhere which refers to H. populnea and H. glabrata.
angustifolia: narrow-leaved

Common Name(s)

Narrow-leaved Houhere

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


Hoheria angustifolia Raoul



Brief Description

Tall soft-wooded grey-trunked tree bearing masses of narrow sharply-toothed leaves and small clusters of white flowers that develop into dry papery winged fruits. Leaves 20-48mm long by 5-10mm wide (juvenile leaves much shorter and rounder). Flowers in groups of 1-8, on stalks 10-12mm long.

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


Hoheria populnea var. angustifolia (Raoul) Hook.f.


Endemic. New Zealand: North and South Islands - mostly easterly from the Wairoa River Northland south to Southland. In the North Island scarce north of the Hawkes Bay, absent from Taranaki, Bay of Plenty and Auckland areas and from most of the Waikato. In the South Island absent from Westland and Fiordland.


A common mostly lowland forest species frequenting alluvial forest where it may at times be dominant. Hoheria angustifolia is often an important host for taapia (Tupeia antarctica).


Slender heteroblastic tree up to 18 m tall. Mature branches and branchlets ± glabrous; young branches and branchlets finely and densely covered in stellate-pubescence. Juvenile and sub-adults filiramulate-divaricate, branchlets slender, pliant, ± interlacing. Leaves distant, fascicled, on very slender petioles, 1.0-2.3 mm long; lamina (2.0-)4.0(-8.4) × 4.0-7.5 mm, grey-green to dark green, broad-obovate to suborbicular, cuneately narrowed to base, dentate along upper margin. Adult leaves, less widely spaced, fascicled. petioles 4.8-5.3 mm long; lamina (including teeth) 20-48 × 5-10 mm; narrow, obovate, oblanceolate, oblong, lanceolate, apex obtuse to acute; margins coarsely spinulose dentate-serrate; teeth up to 4 mm long. The different leaf-forms may all occur on the same plant, often as reversion shoots on damaged mature trees. Flowers solitary or in 2-8-flowered cymose fascicles on very slender stellate-pubescent pedicels 10-12 mm long. Calyx densely pubescent, campanulate, 3.0-4.2 mm long, (3-)5-fid; teeth broad-triangular. Petals (5-)7(-9) mm long, white, obliquely narrow-oblong, notched. Stigma capitate. Anthers reniform. Carpels and styles 5. Mericarp semicircular, winged, main body 2.5-3.5 mm long, pale brown; wing 3.0-6.0 mm long, light-orange yellow, densely covered with stellate hairs near base. Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Webb & Simpson (2011).

Similar Taxa

Easily distinguished from all other Hoheria species by the heteroblastic growth habit in which the filiramulate-divaricating juvenile form is long persistent, being usually seen as reversion shoots on mature trees. The mature leaves of Hoheria angustifolia are also much narrowed and more deeply toothed than any other species. However, where the ranges of Hoheria angustifolia and H. sexstylosa overlap hybrids between both species are common (these have even been formally named as H. populnea var. lanceolata - a "variety" many New Zealand botanists seem to think equates with H. sexstylosa one of its parents! Another expression of this hybrid found occasionally in the Tararua Ranges, Eastern Wairarapa, South Wellington Coastline and in parts of the Marlborough Sounds has even been referred to as a "new species" Hoheria "Tararua". These hybrids can be recognised by their shorter, broader canopy and variable leaf dimensions which are intermediate between both parents - unfortunately introgressive hybrid swarms are frequent, and at times the hybrid dominates where one or more parents have been eliminated. Detailed research into these hybrid swarms using modern molecular methods is sorely needed to determine the extent of gene-flow as well as to characterize the nature of this hybridism.


December - February

Flower Colours



February - April

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed. Very fast growing and the diversity of foliage types exhibited by juvenile and adults can be very attractive. Due to its large size it is best for a big garden


Not Threatened - though the northern North Island populations are small and few are on protected land

Chromosome No.

2n = 42

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Winged mericarps are dispersed by wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Occasionally sold by garden centres and commonly available from specialist native plant nurseries


Fact Sheet Prepared for NZPCN by: P.J. de Lange 3 April 2011. Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Webb & Simpson (2011).

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.

Moorfield, J. C. (2005). Te aka : Maori-English, English-Maori dictionary and index.  Pearson Longman:  Auckland, N.Z.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 10 Apr 2015