Austroderia richardii


richardii: Named after Achille Richard (1794-1852) - a French botanist who described several New Zealand plant species

Common Name(s)


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 richardii (Endl.) N.P.Barker et H.P.Linder



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 richardii Endl.; Arundo kakao Steud.; Arundo australis A.Rich.; Gynerium zeelandicum Steud.; Cortaderia richardii (Endl.) Zotov


Endemic. Confined to the South Island. Possibly in the North Island, east of Cape Palliser. Naturalised in Tasmania.


Abundant, from the coast to subalpine areas. Common along stream banks, river beds, around lake margins, and in other wet places. Also found in sand dunes, especially along the Foveaux Strait.


Tall, gracile, slender tussock-forming grass up to 3 m tall when flowering. Leaf sheath glabrous, green, covered in white wax. Ligule 3.5 mm. Collar brown, basally glabrous, upper surface with short, stiff hairs surmounting ribs. Leaf blade 2-3 x 0.25 m, green, dark-green, often somewhat glaucous, upper side with thick weft of hairs at base, otherwise sparsely hairy up midrib with abundant, minute prickle teeth throughout. Undersurface with leaf with 5 mm long hairs near leaf margins, otherwise harshly scabrid. Culm up to 3 m, inflorescence portion up to 1 m tall, pennant-shaped, drooping, narrowly plumose. Spikelets numerous, 25 mm with 3 florets per spikelet. Glumes equal, > or equal to florets, 1- or 3-nerved. Lemma 10 mm, scabrid. Palea 6 mm, keels ciliate. Callus hairs 2 mm. Rachilla 1 mm, glabrous. Flowers either perfect (anthers 4.5 mm) or female (3 mm). Ovary 1 mm (perfect), stigma -styles 2.5 mm; female flowers with ovary 1.3 mm, stigma-style 4 mm. Seed 3-4 mm.

Similar Taxa

Closest to Austroderia toetoe form which it is best distinguished by the green rather than ivory leaf-sheaths, and by the green rather than ivory culm internodes. Also recognisable by the very slender, gracile leaves, culms and inflorescences. The inflorescences in this species are rather beautiful and resemble fine, narrow, pennants. Around the Foveaux Strait area and at Mason Bay, Stewart Island, some populations of A. richardii are distinctly rhizomatous.


September - November


October - March

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed (as a revegetation 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 in the South Island, and offered by many specialist native plant nurseries. Not commonly cultivated in the North Island.


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 2 Jul 2014