Carmichaelia uniflora


Carmichaelia: after Carmichael, a botanist
uniflora: single-flowered

Common Name(s)

dwarf Broom

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 - Data Deficient
2004 - Not Threatened


2012 - DP


Carmichaelia uniflora Kirk



Brief Description

Very small (to 6cm tall) low-growing cushion with scattered erect small flattened twigs that barely poke above the surrounding vegetation. Twigs short, 1-2mm wide. Flowers usually solitary, pea-like, purple striped. Fruit a small dry sharp-tipped pod which splits widely to release the 4-6 hard 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 uniflora var. suteri (Colenso) G.Simpson; Carmichaelia uniflora Buchanan; Carmichaelia suteri Colenso


Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (Nelson, Canterbury, Otago, and Southland).


Inhabiting stable but unconsolidiated, sparsely vegetated river bed gravels, outwash fans, terraces, and stony ground.


Dwarf, rhizomatous shrub, up to 20-60 mm tall and 1 m wide, forming a dense mat or tufts of cladodes. Rhizomes becoming increasingly stout and woody with age, 50.0-200.0 × 1.0-2.5 mm. Cladodes filiform, linear, striate, compressed, erect to spreading, green to green-yellow, glabrous, 20.00-60.00 × 0.75-2.00 mm; apex subacute, yellow to yellow- green; leaf nodes 2-14. Leaves simple, broad-obovate to broad-elliptic, fleshy, entire, green, present on seedlings, absent on mature plants, 5.5-8.0 × 3.0-5.0 mm; both surfaces with scattered hairs; apex emarginate to retuse; base cuneate to narrow-obtuse; petiole sparsely hairy, 2.0-2.5 mm long. Leaves on cladodes reduced to a scale, triangular, glabrous, 0.6-1.5 × 0.8-1.4 mm; apex acute. Inflorescence a raceme, 1 per node, each with l-2 flowers. Peduncle glabrous, occasionally sparsely hairy, green, 4-15 mm long. Bracts, triangular, glabrous, pale green, 0.5-0.8 × 0.5-0.8 mm; apex acute; margin hairy. Pedicel glabrous, occasionally sparsely hairy, pale green, 3.0-7.5 mm long. Bracteoles at top of pedicel, triangular to narrow triangular, glabrous, green and occasionally flushed red, 0.2-0.3 × 0.1-0.2 mm; apex acute; margin hairy. Calyx campanulate, c.2.5 × c.2.5 mm; inner surface glabrous, green; outer surface glabrous or sparsely hairy, green. Calyx lobes triangular, flushed red, c.0.5 mm long; apex acute; margin hairy or glabrous. Bud green. Standard obovate, patent, 8-10 × 6-8 mm; upper surface white, central area purple, sometimes purple-green veined; lower surface green, margin cream-green, sometimes purple-green veined; apex retuse; claw pale green, c. 1.5 mm long. Wings oblong, shorter than keel, 5.0-6.5 × c.2.0 mm; distal area of adaxial surface purple, proximal area green; abaxial surface white, sometimes purple-veined; auricle triangular, pale green, apex obtuse, c.1.25 mm long; claw pale green. Keel 6.0-8.0 × 2.5-3.0 mm; distal area of adaxial surface purple, proximal area pale green; distal area of abaxial surface dark, proximal area pale green; auricle triangular, pale green, c. 0.75 mm long, with obtuse apex; claw pale green, 2.0-2.5 mm long. Stamens 7.5-9.0 mm long; lower filaments connate for c. 2A length and outside filaments free for 1.5-2.5 mm. Pistil exserted beyond stamens, c.10 mm long; style with a ring of hairs below stigma; ovules 9-11. Pod elliptic-oblong, laterally compressed, weakly falcate, black, brown, or grey, one valve dehiscent from base, 7.5-13.0 × 3.0-4.0 mm; beak on adaxial suture, slightly upturned, stout, pungent, 1.5-2 mm long. Seeds oblong-reniform, 2-9 per pod, black, brown, tan, or olive green, 1.2-2.0 × 1.0-1.5 mm.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from C. corrugate Colenso by its narrower, thread-like rhizome; strongly dehiscent pod; cladodes which are narrower, thread-like, much less robust, often shorter, and green in colour; and by the usually single-flowered inflorescence


October - March

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White


November - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from seed and hardwood cuttings.


Probably threatened. However, there is insufficient data available to make an accurate assessment. It is known to be at risk from browsing animals and through competition from weeds such as pasture grasses.

Chromosome No.

2n = 96

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Description adapted from Heenan (1995)

References and further reading

Heenan, P.B. 1995: A taxonomic revision of Carmichaelia (Fabaceae - Galegeae) in New Zealand (part I). New Zealand Journal of Botany 33: 455-475

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