Carmichaelia australis


Carmichaelia: after Carmichael, a botanist
australis: southern

Common Name(s)

common broom

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


Carmichaelia australis R.Br.



Brief Description

Common small tree with many flattened green twigs clustered at the top of grey-brown branches. Twigs flattened, grooved, 2-8mm wide with scattered small inconspicuous leaves. Leaves with three leaflets. Flowers small, white with a purple centre, clustered along twigs. Fruit a small dry pointed pod containing 1-3 hard orange seeds.

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


Carmichaelia violacea Kirk; Carmichaelia solandri G.Simpson; Carmichaelia subulata Kirk; Carmichaelia rivulata G.Simpson; Carmichaelia robusta Kirk; Carmichaelia silvatica G.Simpson; Carmichaelia ovata G.Simpson; Carmichaelia hookeri Kirk; Carmichaelia cunninghamii Raoul; Carmichaelia flagelliformis Benth.; Carmichaelia egmontiana (Cockayne et Allan) G. Simpson; Carmichaelia aligera G.Simpson; Carmichaelia arenaria G.Simpson


Endemic. New Zealand: North and South Islands (except southern South Island)


Coastal to montane, on river terraces, stream banks, colluvium, rock outcrops, talus and fan toe slopes, among tussock grassland and grey scrub, on the edge and margins of dense bush, forest, and in swamps


Shrub, 2-8 × 2-5 m. Branches up to 100 mm diameter, ascending and spreading. Cladodes 30.0-200.0 × 1.5-8.0 mm, ascending or spreading, linear, striate, weakly plano-convex to strongly flattened and compressed, green, yellow-green, or brown-green, glabrous to sparsely hairy, apex obtuse to subacute; leaf nodes 4-15. Leaves 1-3-foliolate, present on seedlings and rarely on adults, terminal leaflet larger; lamina 3.0-22.0 × 1.3-16.0 mm, obovate to oblong, fleshy, green, sometimes with dark mottling, surfaces glabrous to moderately hairy, apex emarginate, base cuneate; petiole 1-10 mm long, glabrous to moderately hairy, green; petiolule < 0.25 mm long, glabrous or sparsely hairy, light green. Leaves on cladodes reduced to scales, < 0.5 mm long, broad-triangular, glabrous, apex subacute, margin hairy. Stipules c.1.0 × c.1.5 mm, free, broad-triangular, upper surface glabrous, lower surface glabrous orglabrescent, apex subacute, margin hairy. Inflorescence a raceme, 1-3 per node, each with 4-15 flowers. Peduncle 1-10 mm long, glabrous to moderately hairy, green, occasionally flushed red. Pedicel 2-4 mm long, glabrous to sparsely hairy, pale green. Calyx 1.3-1.7 × 1.7-2.2 mm, campanulate, green, outer surface glabrous to moderately hairy. Calyx lobes 0.2-0.4 mm long, triangular, inner surface glabrous, appressed to corolla or rarely weakly spreading, apex acute. Standard 4.0-6.0 × 5.0-6.5 mm, obovate, patent, positioned in central part of keel, keeled, apex retuse; inner surface white, sometimes with a purple blotch, purple-veined; outer surface white, green at base, purple-veined; claw c.1 mm long, pale green. Wings 4.0-5.0 × 1.7-2.2 mm, oblong, longer than keel, apex obtuse; inner and outer surfaces white, purple-veined; auricle rounded, white; claw c. 1.5 mm long, pale green. Keel 3.2-4.2 × c.1.5 mm, apex obtuse; distal part of inner and outer surfaces purple, proximal part white; auricle < 0.5 mm long, rounded, pale green; claw c.1.5 mm long, pale green. Stamens 3-4 mm long. Pistil c.4 mm long, exserted, glabrous. Pods 6.5-15 × 2.0-5.5 mm, oblong, broad-oblong, elliptic, broad-elliptic, or sometimes orbicular, laterally compressed, erect or spreading, brown, grey, or black, valves dehiscent; beak 0.5-2.5 mm long, in a central apical position, stout, pungent-tipped. Seeds 1-5 per pod, 2.2-4.0 × 1.7-2.8 mm, oblong to reniform, orange, red, green, or yellow-green and often with black mottling, usually persistent on replum.

Similar Taxa

Recognised by the upright or spreading shrub with erect, spreading or drooping pods; the pod valves usually dehiscent when mature and the seeds remaining attached to the replum. For more details see Heenan (1996).


October - February

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White


November - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from seed and hardwood cuttings.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 32

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Seeds are possibly dispersed by wind and granivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).


Description from Heenan (1996)

References and further reading

Heenan, P.B. 1996: A taxonomic revision of Carmichaelia (Fabaceae - Galegeae) in New Zealand (part II). New Zealand Journal of Botany 34: 157-177. For full synonymy see this paper.

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 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309

This page last updated on 23 Sep 2014