Coprosma rotundifolia


Coprosma: from the Greek kopros 'dung' and osme 'smell', referring to the foul smell of the species, literally 'dung smell'
rotundifolia: round leaf; from the Latin rotundus and folium

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 rotundifolia A.Cunn.



Brief Description

Large bushy shrub with wide-angled twigs bearing pairs of small rounded slightly hairy and often purple-blotched leaves. Leaves 15-25mm long x 10-20mm wide, covered in small hairs, rapidly tapering to a sharp tip. Fruit orange or red on very short stalks.

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


Coprosma rufescens Colenso


Endemic. North, South and Stewart Islands from about Kaitaia south


Lowland to montane. Usually in riparian forest and shrubland, especially on alluvial soils or those derived from calcareous parent materials.


Rather slender shrub or tree up to 2-5 m tall; branches spreading to divaricate; branchlets pubescent to villous. Leaves on villous petioles 3-8 mm. long. Stipules obtuse, oblong, sheathing, pubescent to villous, usually with 1 denticle. Lamina membranous, hairy, especially on margins, dull green, red or red-green, often blotched brown, obtuse, sometimes apiculate, rounded to truncate to subcordate at base (usually on same plant): 15-25 × 10-20 mm. Reticulations of veins evident on both surfaces. Flowers in axillary clusters of 2-4. Male without calyx; corolla funnelform to subcampanulate, lobes ovate, acute, > tube. Female with more or less pubescent minutely toothed calyx; corolla tubular, lobes triangular, 4-5 mm long, subacute, sparsely hairy. Drupe red or white, depressed-globose, sometimes didymous, 4-5 mm diameter.

Similar Taxa

Coprosma rotundifolia is superficially similar to and most often confused with C. rubra. Coprosma rubra differs from the much more widespread C. rotunidfolia by its smaller leaves (10-18 x 6-13 mm cf. 15-25 x 10-20 mm in C. rotundifolia, female flowers whose calyces have conspicuous linear rather than inconspicuous minute teeth, and oblong, yellowish-white to white rather than red or white globose drupes. Both species may be found growing together.


September - November


September - August

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed and semi-hardwood cuttings. An attractive shrub to small tree that does well in dappled light. Should be planted in a free draining but moist, fertile soil.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 44

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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


Description adapted from Allan (1961)

References and further reading

 Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Government Printer, Wellington.

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 2 Jul 2014