Convolvulus waitaha


Convolvulus: From Latin convolvere, which means to twine around
waitaha: Named for the location in Canterbury, from the Maori wai 'water' and taha 'to pass to one side', meaning a backwater.

Common Name(s)

grass Convolvulus

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


Convolvulus waitaha (Sykes) Heenan, Molloy et de Lange



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 Lianes and Related Trailing Plants


Convolvulus verecundus subsp. waitaha Sykes


Endemic. Easterly in the North and South Islands. In the North known from an old record from the Hawkes Bay, otherwise from Cape Palliser west to Tongue Point. In the South Island it occurs from Marlborough south to Otago.


Coastal to lowland (1 - 500 m a.s.l.), almost, but not strictly coastal. A species of short tussock grassland, introduced lightly browsed pastures, boulder banks, talus slopes and amongst fine gravel. It frequently grows with and tolerates introduced grasses and herbs.


Rhizomatous, lianoid, decumbent, spreading perennial herb. Stems, spreading, often ascending, up to 800 mm long, sparse to densely covered in retrorse hairs. Leaves in rosettes and alternate on stems 6-17 x 5-12 mm, deltoid, deltoid-ovate, to broad-oblong, green; glabrous or with scattered hairs near lamina/petiole junction, margins entire to undulate, irregularly lobed, base truncate, rarely oblique; apex retuse rarely obtuse to subacute. Pedicel 8-18 mm long, sparsely hairy. Sepals 3.6-4 x 2.1-2.6 mm, obovate to ovate, green both surfaces glabrous. Corolla 10-16 mm wide when open, white, comprising five fused lobes, mid-petalline band green. Capsule 5-6 x 5-6.5 mm, papery, globose, with 2-4 seeds. Seeds broadly obovate 3.1-3.9 x 2.3-3.3 mm, brown, with grey nut-brown. Surface covered in distinct butr irregular ridges and tubercules.

Similar Taxa

Convolvulus verecundus Allan and C. fracto-saxosa Petrie, from which it is distinguished by longer lianoid stems (up to 800 mm); usually glabrous, green leaves; corolla > 18 mm diam., when open; the pale green mid-petaline band; and by the seed coat being densely covered in distinct irregular tubercules and ridges


October - February

Flower Colours



December - March

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed. Plants grow best in well drained, fertile soils in full sun, and make an excellent pot plant. This species does not thrive in humid climates.


Not Threatened, though it has declined from the North Island, and is now only known with certainity from the vicinity of Cape Palliser.

Chromosome No.

2n = 22

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).

References and further reading

Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Reed Publishing. Auckland.

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 15 Aug 2014