Austroderia fulvida


fulvida: yellow

Common Name(s)

Toetoe (cliff toetoe)

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


Austroderia fulvida (Buchanan) N.P.Barker et H.P.Linder



Brief Description

Coastal to montane robust tussock. Near the coast (cliffs, stream and road banks, occasionally dunes) it commences flowering in October but later - Dec-Jan) around e.g., the Volcanic Plateau.

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



Arundo fluvida Buchanan; Arundo conspicua var. fulvida (Buchanan) Kirk; Cortaderia fulvida (Buchanan) Zotov


Endemic. North Island - throughout but generally scarce north of Auckland, where most populations attributed to A. fulvida are of the small 'Northland race' which may prove to be another species; also Marlborough in the South Island.


Found from the coast to montane areas. Common alongside streams, lake margins, in damp spots within forest clearings, seepages, dunes and on hillsides, including sea cliffs. In the Central North Island is often found bordering with forestry roads and logging tracks.


Robust, stout, tussock-forming grass up to 3.5 m tall when in flower (but see under distinguishing features). Leaf sheath glabrous, green, copiously covered in white wax. Ligule 1 mm. Collar light brown, glabrous. Leaf blade 1-2(-3) m x 2 cm, green, dark-green, often somewhat glaucous, upper side glabrous, surface rather harsh due to numerous prickle-teeth, undersides glabrous except near and on leaf margins where long, deciduous hairs are present, these grading into prickle teeth toward leaf apex. Culm up to 3.5 m, inflorescence portion up to 1 m tall, pendant, plumose. Spikelets numerous, 20 mm with 2-3 florets per spikelet. Glumes equal, 15 mm, < or equal to florets. Lemma 1 mm, 3-nerved, scabrid. Palea 4.5 mm, keels ciliate. Callus hairs 1.5 mm. Rachilla 0.5 mm. Flowers either perfect or female. Anthers of perfect flowers 3.8 mm, in females 2 mm. Ovary of perfect flowers 0.6 mm, stigma -styles 1.8 mm; female flowers with ovary 0.8 mm, stigma-style 2.5 mm. Seed 1.5-2 mm.

Similar Taxa

Generally smaller in stature than A. toetoe and flower heads appear earlier when the two species grow together or in the same climatic zone. Can grow in drier sites than A. toetoe. Recognised by the distinctive tussock growth form, the leaf blade being glabrous above the ligule; ligule 1 mm, and by the absence of a contra-ligule. In Northland two forms of A. fulvida occur, the large robust form which encompasses the type is scarce, whilst the other, seemingly endemic to Northland differs by its smaller stature. Beyond stature there seem to be no other distinctions.


September - November (later at higher altitudes e.g. Dec-Jan in central North Island)

Flower Colours



October - March

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed (as a revegation exercise ripe seed heads can be pinned to soil surface, and if kept damp, soon germinate) and division of established plants.


Abundant and not threatened. Often naturalising in suitable habitats.

Chromosome No.

2n = 90

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Where To Buy

Commonly cultivated. Plants are often sold for revegetation purposes by specialist native plant nurseries.

Cultural Use/Importance

Often used in habitat restoration, where it is ideal for protecting stream sides and roadside banks. However, in some parts of the country it has been used excessively, often with little regard as to its native range and habitat preferences, such that it now poses a risk to other allied Austroderia species indigenous to these areas because of the potential for hybridism, and through competition.



Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 1 October 2006. Description adapted from Edgar & Connor (2000).

References and further reading

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

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 Feb 2019