Ascarina lucida var. lucida


lucida: shining

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


Ascarina lucida Hook.f. var. lucida



Brief Description

Small bushy tree of wetter forests. Leaves glossy, yellow green, with coarse black-tipped teeth on margins. Flowers pinkish, in sprays. Fruit small, white.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Ascarina lucida Hook.f.


Endemic. North and South Islands: From Kaitaia south to Wellington, mostly in the west , and only common in the Coromandel Ranges. Abundant on North-west Nelson and Westland.


Coastal to montane. A forest species which is most common in the wetter lowland and coastal forest of North-west Nelson and Westland. Elsewhere it is mostly uncommon, sporadic and often absent over large parts of its range.


Glabrous monoecious shrub or small tree up to 8 m; trunk up to 300 mm diameter. Branchlets slender, becoming striate, dark purple. Interpetiolar stipules conspicuous, hair-like, 3, dark reddish-purple to maroon. Petioles 8-10 mm long; lamina coriaceous, 20-80 × 15-38 mm, elliptic to oval to obovate, obtuse to acute to subacuminate, cuneately narrowed to base; margins coarsely serrate; surface glossy yellow-green (rarely dark green) above, paler below, serrations dark purple-black or maroon. Inflorescences spicate; spikes oppositely arranged, solitary or openly branched up to 5 times, slender; branches 30-40 mm long. Flowers alternate, sessile, subtended by green or red-tinged, 0.8-1.2 mm long, less crenulate to serrate, deltoid to broadly ovate, acute bract and a smaller lateral pair. Male flower with one cylindric anther 2.5-3.0 mm long; Female flower smaller, solitary or 2-3 together located between anther and stem stigma broad, sessile, ovary sessile. Fruit 2.5-3.0 mm long, broadly ovoid, fleshy white drupe.

Similar Taxa

Ascarina lucida var. lanceolata which is endemic to Raoul Island in the Kermadec Islands group is clearly related. A. lucida var. lucida differs from A. lucida var. lanceolata by the dark purple stems; by the 3 simple, conspicuous, reddish-purple filamentous stipules which lack fused bases; smaller, yellow-green leaves with purple-black or dark maroon pigmented serrations; more openly branched inflorescences with less congested flowers, and white drupes. Ascarina lucida var. lucida seems to be monoecious while A. lucida var. lanceolata appears to be gynodioecious - but this aspect needs further study.


August - December

Flower Colours

Green,Red / Pink


January - May

Propagation Technique

Very easy from fresh seed and cuttings. Rather cold sensitive and prefers moist soils, doing best in a sunny, sheltered situation.


Not Threatened but very uncommon in the North Island

Chromosome No.

2n = 26

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Occasionally sold by plant nurseries throughout New Zealand.


Description based on Allan (1961).

References and further reading

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

de Lange, P.J. 1998. Two interesting plant records from Mt. Pirongia western Waikato. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 53: 66-69

Martin, T.J. 2002. Ascarina lucida in the Auckland region. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 57: 57-59 

This page last updated on 6 Dec 2014