Carpodetus serratus


Carpodetus: fruit bound together (girdled)
serratus: saw-toothed

Common Name(s)

putaputaweta, marbleleaf

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


Carpodetus serratus J.R.Forst. et G.Forst.



Brief Description

Small tree with smallish round or oval distinctively mottled (hence common name) toothed leaves; branchlets zig-zag (particularly when young)

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. Widespread. North, South and Stewart Islands.


Coastal to montane (10-1000 m a.s.l.). Moist broadleaf forest, locally common in beech forest. A frequent component of secondary forest. Streamsides and forest margins.


Monoecious small tree up to 10 m tall. Trunk slender, bark rough, corky, mottled grey-white, often knobbled due to insect boring. Juvenile plants with distinctive zig-zag branching which is retained to a lesser degree in branchlets of adult. Leaves broad-elliptic to broad-ovate or suborbicular; dark green, marbled; membranous becoming thinly coriaceous; margin serrately toothed; tip acute to obtuse. Juvenile leaves 10-30 mm x 10-20 mm. Adult leaves 40-60 mm x 20-30mm. Petioles c. 10 mm; petioles, peduncles and pedicels pubescent; lenticels prominent. Flowers in panicles at branchlet tips; panicles to 50 x 50 mm; flowers 5-6 mm diam.; calyx lobes c. 1 mm long, triangular-attenuate; petals white, ovate, acute, 3-4 mm long. Stamens 5-6, alternating with petals; filaments short. Stigma capitate, tip dark; ovules many. Fruit an indehiscent subfleshy-fleshy capsule, 4-6 mm diam., black when mature; cupped in remains of calyx. Seeds many per capsule, in 3-5 locules, small, 1-2 mm long; testa reticulate.

Similar Taxa

Not likely to be confused with any other NZ shrub or small tree. Perhaps most similar to juvenile kaikomako Pennatia corymbosa which does not have mottled leaves and the leaves are only toothed in the top half (reminiscent of a ducks foot).



Flower Colours



January-February (though dried fruit present at any time)


Not Threatened.

Chromosome No.

2n = 30

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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


This species is damaged by the burrowing larvae of the native puriri moth (Aenetus virescens). Caterpillars create burrows in the trunk and feed on cambium at the burrow entrance, creating characteristic diamond-shaped feeding scars. The caterpillar hides the web entrance with a silken web. Heavy feeding can weaken trees, in particular those with thin trunks. For more information about the life-cycle of the puriri moth and a list of other host species follow this link. (Martin, 2010).


Description adapted from Allan (1961), puriri moth information modified from Martin (2010.

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961. Flora of NZ I. Government Printer, Wellington.

Martin, N. A. (2010). Puriri moth - Aenetus virescens fact sheet, retrieved from the website Interesitng Insects and other Invertebrates. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/factsheet/OrganismProfile/Puriri_moth_-_Aenetus_virescens.html

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