Carmichaelia crassicaulis subsp. racemosa


Carmichaelia: after Carmichael, a botanist
racemosa: raceme bearing

Common Name(s)

slender coral broom

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable

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 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable
2004 - Data Deficient


2012 - DP, RF
2009 - DP, RF


Carmichaelia crassicaulis subsp. racemosum (Kirk) Heenan



Brief Description

Rare shrub with erect leafless blunt-tipped grooved branches. Branches 5mm in diameter, oval in cross section, grooves filled with white fuzz. Flowers small, pea-like, pale pink, streaked with purple. Fruit a small dry hairy pod with a long curved tip and containing 1-3 hard yellow seeds.

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


Corallospartium racemosum (Kirk) Ckn. et Allan, Corallospartium crassicaule var. racemosum Kirk


Endemic. South Island (Canterbury (Mt Somers, Rangitata) Otago (Lindis Pass, western Otago (especially on the mountains around Lake Wakatipu).


Montane to subalpine. Inhabiting sparsely vegetated greywacke and schist rock outcrops, small bluffs, talus slopes and colluvium, also within riparian shrubland.


Lax, spreading to upright, leafless shrub up to 1.2 m. tall, with few, spreading, rather pliant subcylindric branches.Cladodes slender, wiry, 1.8-4.1 × 1.8-2.1 mm diameter, spreading with ascending tips, yellowish to yellow-brown, or grey, finely grooved. Leaves most present in seedlings and juveniles, absent on adults; lamina simple, obovate, suborbicular or oblong, 4.0-6.0 × 2.0-6.0 mm, upper and lower surfaces puberulent, glabrescent; apex emarginate or retuse; base cuneate; petiole puberulent, c.1.6 mm long. Leaves on cladodes reduced to a papery scale, triangular, glabrous, < 0.3 mm long; apex acute. Inflorescence 1 per node, in 1-6-flowered fascicles. Bracts broadly triangular, 0.4-0.9 mm long, pale green to hyaline, minutely hairy. Pedicel densely hairy, dark grey-green, 0.8-1.2 mm long. Calyx 4 × 3 mm, campanulate to narrowly turbinate; dark green to greenish brown flushed with red, outer surface densely invested in grey felted hairs. Calyx lobes 5, narrowly triangular, dark green flushed with red, 1.0-1.5 mm long, hairy, apex acute. Standard broadly obovate, initially patent, margins strongly recurved, 5-6 × 3-5 mm; centrally blotched purple, otherwise striped purple 10-16 times, margins cream. Wings broadly oblong, ± equal to keel, c.6 × 3 mm, basally blotched purple, purple striped 1-3 times, margins cream. Keel about 6 mm long, incurved, central portion purple, otherwise cream, often faintly striped purple. Stamens 5.5-6.0 mm long. Pistil exserted beyond stamens, 7-8 mm long. Pods ± orbicular to unequally deltoid, compressed, grey-brown to dark grey, outer surface densely covered in grey felted hairs, valves ± indehiscent, 6-8 × 5-8 mm; beak, stout, pungent, 0.6-1.0 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from coral broom (Carmichaelia crassicaulis subsp. crassicaulis) by the lax, spreading rather than stout, erect growth habit, slender, cladodes 1.8-4.1 × 1.8-2.1 mm diameter rather than 4.1-7.8 × 3.2-4.9 mm diameter in subsp. crassicaulis. Both subspecies have not been found growing together.


December to January

Flower Colours

Cream,Violet / Purple


March to May

Propagation Technique

Can be grown from seed and hardwood cuttings. However, cuttings can be very slow to strike. A slow growing plant suitable for a sunny site. Should be planted free draining soil.


Like the majority of South Island Carmichaelia slender coral broom is mostly threatened by the lack of regeneration. Most populations now comprise mature or senescent adults, and it is only in inaccessible sites such as gorges and cliff faces that seedlings and juvenile plants are seen. Slender coral broom is also highly palatable, and is often severely damaged by hares, rabbits, and at times sheep and goats.

Chromosome No.

2n = 32

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available.


Fact Sheet Prepared for NZPCN by: P.J. de Lange 28 October 2009. Description from de Lange et al. (2010).

References and further reading

de Lange, P.J.; Heenan, P.B.; Norton, D.A.; Rolfe, J.R.; Sawyer, J.W.D. 2010: Threatened Plants of New Zealand, Christchurch, Canterbury University Press. 471pp

This page last updated on 22 Sep 2013