Chionochloa flavicans f. flavicans


Chionochloa: snow grass

Common Name(s)

snow tussock

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


Chionochloa flavicans Zotov f. flavicans



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class



Danthonia antarctica var. alpha elata Hook.f.


Found in North Island from Coromandel to Hawkes Bay.


Coastal to subalpine. Inhabiting sparsely vegetated cliff and rock faces, and talus slopes


Tall, stout, often sprawling, flabellate tussock with persistent leaves and sheaths. Leaf-sheath to 150 mm, pinkish or purplish, chartaceous, entire, becoming fibrous, keeled, glabrous or with a few long hairs, apical tuft of hairs to 1 mm. Ligule to 0.7 mm. Leaf-blade to 750 × 8 mm, dark green to yellow-green, keeled, persistent, glabrous except for some short hairs above ligule and prickle-teeth on margins and abaxially at apex. Culm to 1.5 m, internodes glabrous. Inflorescence to 300 mm, clavate, dense and compact, not naked below; rachis smooth below, branches and pedicels densely scabrid and with some long hairs at branch axils. Spikelets of up to 4 distant florets. Glumes to 7 mm, broad, shallowly bifid, sometimes purpled, margins ciliate, prickle-teeth adaxially above, < nearest lemma lobes; lower 3-nerved, upper 5-nerved. Lemma to 6 mm; hairs dense on margin, usually fewer or none aside central nerve, rarely reaching sinus, prickle-teeth above adaxially and abaxially on nerves; lateral lobes up to 2.5 mm, conspicuously awned adjacent to a small lobe; central awn to 16 mm, reflexed, column absent. Palea to 6 mm, interkeel with prickle-teeth above. Callus to 1.5 mm, hairs to 4 mm. Rachilla to 0.25 mm. Lodicules to 1 mm. Anthers to 4 mm. Ovary to 1 mm; stigma-styles to 3 mm. Seeds to 3 mm

Similar Taxa

Very closely related to C. flavicans f. temata from which it differs by its larger over all floret dimensions, less compact growth habit, and dark green to yellow green rather than slightly glaucous leaves.


September - November


October - June

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed and the division of whole plants. Very popular in cultivation. This is an attractive species that has proved suitable for a wide range of growing conditions.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 42

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Commonly sold by most plant nurseries and garden centres. Very popular in cultivation.


Description modified from Edgar and Connor (2000).

References and further reading

Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2000: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. V. Grasses. Christchurch, Manaaki Whenua Press. 650 pp

This page last updated on 15 Aug 2014