Androstoma empetrifolium

Common Name(s)

None known

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


Androstoma empetrifolium Hook.f.



Brief Description

Low-growing sprawling reddish shrub. Leaves spreading, small, curved, appearing blunt, reddish or dark green above (somewhat pubescent), undersides 3-veined (veins parallel), white, pubescent. Flower small, white, tubular, single or in small clusters. Fruit fleshy, white, pink or red, ovoid

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


Cyathodes empetrifolia (Hook.f.) Hook.f., Styphelia taxifolia Sleumer, Styphelia androstoma F.Muell. (nom. illegit.), Styphelia hookeri F.Muell. (nom. illegit.)


Endemic. North, South, Stewart, Chatham, Auckland and Campbell islands, from Te Moehau and Mt Pirongia south.


Coastal to alpine (montane to alpine in northern part of range otherwise extending to sea level). A species of open shrubland, tussock grassland, peat bogs and other poorly drained sites, as well as mixed alpine and subalpine herbfield. It is also frequently found on ridgelines on poorly draining, skeletal soils and on rock outcrops.


Prostrate, semi-prostrate (decumbent) sometimes trailing, widely spreading woody shrubs up to 1.0 × 0.2 m. Stems spreading, brown, grey-brown or red-brown; branchlets red-brown, yellow-brown or brown, ribbed, pubescent. Leaves dark green, bronze-green, maroon adaxially, abaxially pubescent, alternate, evenly spaced, ± spreading, erect or reflexed, shedding along branchlets, and absent on main stems; petiolate, petiole erect, ± appressed, 0.5-0.9 mm long, glabrous; lamina linear, 2.3-4.8 × 0.6-1.1 mm, coriaceous, convex (rarely flat); apex obtuse surmounted by a minute callus; margin recurved, glabrous or ciliate; adaxially ± glossy, glabrous or finely pubescent; abaxially pubescent with hairs either confined to interveinal grooves or pubescent overall, striate, veins 3 parallel, conspicuous, abaxially strongly ribbed. Plants hermaphrodite. Inflorescences terminal, 1-3-flowered,terminating in a rudimentary bud. Flowers pendulous, subtended by a single bract and 2 prominently keeled bracteoles, not pedicellate above bracteoles so appearing spicate; pedicel 0.4-1 mm long; bract, bracteoles, and sepals ovate or oblong, obtuse, glabrous or rarely puberulent outside; bract 0.5-0.9 × 0.5 mm, margin ciliolate; bracteoles non-imbricate, uniform in size, 0.8-1.5 × 0.7-1 mm, conspicuously striate particularly when dry, margin ciliate; sepals 1.3-1.9 × 0.8-1.1 mm, margin ciliate, bearing stomata on the adaxial surface (with a few present within hair-bearing clefts on the abaxial surface). Corolla tube equal or shorter than calyx, thin, campanulate, 1.1-1.6 mm long, inner portion of tube glabrous; lobes spreading, acute, equalling the tube, 1.0-1.5 mm long, sparsely puberulent to puberulent towards apices. Anthers emarginate, 0.3-0.5 mm long, apically attached by a short thin filament inserted just below sinus of corolla tube; the filaments exserted, 0.3-0.5 mm long. Ovary 3-4-locular, spherical to ovoid, glabrous, 0.5-1.0 × 0.5-0.8 mm wide; style straight, glabrous, 0.5-0.8 mm long; stigma 0.1 mm long exserted. Nectary annular deeply lobed, occasionally comprised of distinct scales, these 0.2-0.4 mm tall, glabrous. Fruit red (occasionally white or pink), 2.0-3.0 × 1.5-2 mm, glabrous. Endocarp 1.6-2.3 × 1.6-2.1 mm, brown, orange to ornage-brown, broadly elliptic to ovoid, obscurely 3-angled, often longitudinally ridged, somewhat granular.

Similar Taxa



November - January


January - August

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 24

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Fleshy drupes are dispersed by frugivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Not commercially available.

Taxonomic notes

Until recently Androstoma had been treated as a monotypic and endemic genus (Hooker 1844; Weiller 1996). In 2005 an further Australian (Tasmania) endemic species that had been variously referred to Pentachondra, Trochocarpa, Styphelia and Leucopogon, was transferred to Androstoma as A. verticillata (Hook.f.) C.J.Quinn (Quinn et al. 2005). Androstoma empetrifolium was treated as Cyathodes empetrifolia (Hook.f.) Hook.f. by Allan (1961)


Fact Sheet prepared for the NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (19 November 2014). Description based on Weiller (1996), Quinn et al (2005), Webb & Simpson (2001) and observations made from fresh and dried specimens

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Wellington, Government Printer.

Hooker, J.D. 1844: The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ships Erebus and Terror in the Years 1839–1843, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross.London, Reeve, Brothers. 208 p.

Quinn, C. J.; Brown, E. A.; Heslewood, M. M.; Crayn, D. M. 2005: Generic concepts in Styphelieae (Ericaceae): the Cyathodes group. Australian Systematic Botany 18: 439-454

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.

Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.

Weiller, C.M. 1996: Reinstatement of the genus Androstoma Hook.f. (Epacridaceae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 34: 179-185.

This page last updated on 19 Nov 2014