Coprosma fowerakeri


Coprosma: from the Greek kopros 'dung' and osme 'smell', referring to the foul smell of the species, literally 'dung smell'

Common Name(s)

Foweraker's Coprosma

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


Coprosma fowerakeri D.A.Norton et de Lange



Brief Description

Low-growing shrub with wide-angled curved branches bearing small thick narrow dark green or leaves inhabiting mountainous areas of the South Island. Leaves pointed, curved, in clusters of pairs. A few small dark teeth on stem between leaf pairs. Fruit orange.

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


None (first described in 2003)


Endemic. South Island


Subalpine to alpine, usually within boulder falls and at the base of scree.


Decumbent, prostrate, to semi-erect, evergreen, dioecious shrub up to 0.60 m tall, with numerous, spreading, long-trailing branches up to 1(-2) m long and 15 mm diam.; these frequently rooting on contact with soil. Main stems 2-5(-8), decumbent; lateral branches decussate, numerous, stout, markedly recurved, rarely straight. Mature outer bark grey to dark silver-grey; inner bark dark green. Brachyblasts numerous and very leafy, arising in tightly but evenly spaced pairs along stem, leafy, internodes 0.1- 0.2 mm, scarcely visible, being + or - obscured by leaves and/or stipules. Leaves glabrous, opposite, densely clustered on short shoots; petioles 0.2-1 mm, stout, lamina 5-7(-10) x 1-3(-5) mm, markedly involute, oblanceolate to elliptic, fleshy-coriaceous to almost succulent, glabrous, margins entire, smooth, apex acute to subacute, base cuneate to attenuate, dark green to bronze-green, sometimes yellow-green; domatia absent; midrib and lateral veins not or hardly apparent on either surface. Stipules 0.3-1.0 mm long, shortly sheathing, chartaceous, glabrous except for densely ciliate distal portion; apex margin entire or bifid; hairs of distal portion flexuous, initially pale yellow fading to white; associated glandular denticles 2-6, evenly spaced, black, deciduous. Flowers axillary, located in axils of uppermost leaves of previous season's growth flush, solitary or paired. Male flowers larger than female flowers. Pedicels 0.15-0.20 mm long, sparsely hairy, maroon, spotted yellow-green, each with a basal, tubular, connate bracteole; bracteoles c. 0.5-0.6 mm long, lobes obovate-oblong, dark green, glabrous. Calyx reduced, pale green, lobes 4, obovate-oblong, basal portion green fading to pale green in distal third; margins + or - glabrous, rarely eglandular ciliate near the apex. Corolla 5-6 mm long; tube 1-1.5 mm long, funnelform; basal portion green, remainder green-yellow, with margins usually pigmented dark-red to purple; lobes 4, broadly lanceolate to ovate-acute, 3.5-4 x 1.5-2 mm, recurved, minutely papillose at apex and on inside. Stamens 4. Filaments 5¡V6 mm long, pale green or green-yellow. Anthers 2.5-3 x 1-1.5 mm, ovate, elliptic to + or - rhomboid; pollen yellow. Female flowers with pedicels similar to male flowers. Calyx much reduced, 4-lobed, adnate to ovary. Corolla tube 2-2.5 mm long, narrowly funnelform, green-yellow with margins pale pink, vinous or purple in distal portion; corolla lobes 4, lanceolate-ovate 0.50 x 0.25 mm, recurved, minutely papillose-pubescent at apex and on inside. Ovary ovoid, 2-locular, green. Style branches 2, 6-9 mm long, terete, at first straight then recurving slightly in upper third, twisting markedly on drying, papillose-pubescent; stigmatic hairs 0.1 mm long, pale green to yellow. Drupes globose to subglobose; 4-5(-6) x 3-5(-6) mm bright orange, red or yellow; calyx lobes persistent as a central 0.5-1 mm stub. Pyrenes (1-)2, unequal, when two then the larger (2.5)-3-(4.5) x (1.8-)2.0(-2.8) mm, ovate-elliptic to oblong-elliptic; plano-convex, roughened on the inner face; operculum usually indistinct, c. 1/3 of pyrene length.

Similar Taxa

Differs from Coprosma pseudocuneata by the smaller, decumbent, long-trailing growth form, numerous, stout, recurved, lateral branches, numerous short, stout very leafy brachyblasts, coriaceous involute leaves, shortly sheathing conspicuously denticulate stipules, and tetraploid chromosome number.


December - March

Flower Colours



December - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and cuttings but rather slow.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 88

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Where To Buy

Not commercially available.



Description based on: Norton and de Lange (2003)

References and further reading

Norton, D.A.; de Lange, P.J. 2003: A new species of Coprosma (Rubiaceae) from the South Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 41: 223-231.

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 23 Jun 2014