Coprosma pedicellata


Coprosma: from the Greek kopros 'dung' and osme 'smell', referring to the foul smell of the species, literally 'dung smell'
pedicellata: with stalked clusters of florets

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Declining

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 - At Risk - Declining
2004 - Gradual Decline


2012 - CD, PD, RR
2009 - CD, PD, RR


Coprosma pedicellata Molloy, de Lange et B.D.Clarkson



Brief Description

Bushy shrub with wide angled branches bearing abundant clusters of pairs of small oval leaves inhabiting wetlands in the east of New Zealand. Trunk often curved and orange underneath the bark. Leaves 5-10mm long, often with pale blotches. Fruit small, violet, hanging on a short stalk.

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




Endemic. Largely confined to the eastern portion of the North and South Islands. In the North Island from Pehiri, near Gisborne to the Wairarapa, in the South Island from North Canterbury south to the Catlins and western portion of Southland.


Kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides) dominated lowland alluvial forest. Often restricted to the margins of small oxbow lakes and ponds, or former stream/river channels. Very tolerant of waterlogging and plants may be found growing within water.


Shrub or small tree up to 9m tall. Trunk erect to twisted, often leaning or twisted, bark brown or grey-brown, inner bark orange. Branches numerous, spreading, somewhat divaricating, and rather leafy. Adult leaves in opposite pairs, densely clustered on short shoots, lamina dull yellow-green and cream flecked, 10(-12) x 3-5(-7) mm, obovate to narrowly obovate, apex obtuse to retuse, domatia 0-2(-3). Interpetiolar stipules triangular, pubescent with a dark central denticle. Plants dioecious, flowers axillary, solitary or paired, pedicellate, pendulous, funnel-shaped, pedicels and calyces long persistent. Male flowers larger and more numerous than females. Corolla tube 2.5-3 mm, oblong, green suffused with purple, corolla lobes 3-5, cut to half tube length. Stamens prominent, 2-3(-4). Females flowers similar to males but with reduced corolla tubes, ovary ovoid, stigmas 2-3, 5 mm long. Fruit a globose dark purple to black drupe. Pyrenes (1-)2(-3), 3-4 x 2-3 mm.

Similar Taxa

Closest to C. parviflora var. parviflora, which is confined to forest and shrublands from Auckland to North Cape, and is never sympatric with C. pedicellata. However, frequently sympatric with C. parviflora var. dumosa (known as C. sp. (t), C. "tayloriae" or by the nomen nuda C. oliveri and/or C. tayloriae), which has pale yellow underbark, somewhat flattened more strongly divaricating branches, and scarcely stalked drupes which are either opaque, white, lemon or pink.


(August-)September-October (-November)

Flower Colours

Green,Violet / Purple


(February-)March-September(-October). Fruit takes 12-14 months to ripen and so it is not uncommon to find ripe fruit and green fruit alongside flowers on the same plant.

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed. Can be grown from semi-hardwood cuttings. Quite fast growing, doing best in fertile, moist alluvial soils but once established remarkably tolerant of a wide variety of soils and moisture regimes.


Although not as threatened as was initially believed, this species is still extremely vulnerable to habitat loss from forest clearance, drainage, and other more subtale changes in local hydrology. Seedlings are very vulnerable to browsing from livestock. These animals can on occasion destroy subadults and adult specimens through bark stripping. Some populations comprise numerous adults, with no or little recruitment as a consequence of weeds which suppress seed germination.

Chromosome No.

2n = 44

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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



References and further reading

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 24 Jun 2014