Austroderia splendens


splendens: Splendid

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 splendens (Connor) 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



Cortaderia splendens Connor


Endemic. A northern species common from the Three Kings Islands south to about Waikawau in the west and Ohiwa Harbour in the east - exact southern limit unclear.


Abundant in coastal situations, within dunefield, associated shrublands, on cliff faces and on offshore islands.


Generally a robust, stout, rhizomatous tussock forming grass up to 6 m tall when in flower. Leaf sheath clothed in long hairs, pale green, copiously covered in white wax. Ligule 3 (or more) mm long, contra-ligule (a long in hairs at the leaf blade/culm junction) present. Leaf blade 2-3(-4.8) x 0.3-0.5 m, yellow-green, green to dark-green, upper side glabrous, underside basally with dense weft of hairs, this becoming sparse toward midribs, trending toward mintuely hairy throughout. Culm up to 6 m, inflorescence portion up to 1 m tall, erect to nodding, plumose. Spikelets numerous, 40 mm with 2-3 florets per spikelet. Glumes equal, 40 mm with awn-like apex, > florets. Lemma 11 mm, 3-nerved, scabrid. Palea 9 mm, keels ciliate. Callus hairs 4 mm. Rachilla 1 mm. Flowers either perfect or female. Anthers of perfect flowers 6 mm, in females 4 mm. Ovary of perfect flowers 0.7 mm, stigma -styles 2 mm; female flowers with ovary 1 mm, stigma-style 4 mm. Seed 4-5 mm.

Similar Taxa

This species can be distingushed from the other native Austroderia species best by the leaf blade, which is densely hairy above the ligule, and by the 3 mm (or more) long ligule, and presence of a contra-ligule. For distinctions from the naturalised Cortaderia see notes under Austroderia toetoe.


September - November


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

Uncommon in cultivation. Occasionally offered by specialist native plant nurseries.

Cultural Use/Importance

Two ecotypes exist, a small form typical of coastal cliff faces and rocky islets, and a robust form confined to active and semi-consolidated dune field. The robust form, from which the type specimen was selected, is rhizomatous, and produces very large (2-3(-6) m) culms which push through sand, and so in cultivation can be recognised because the culms soon flop and fall over without support. The small ecotype (which some consider as a distinct, as yet undescribed species) is not rhizomatous, and has a more compact growth form, otherwise in leaf, ligule, flower, and seed characters it matches the robust form.


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 6 Dec 2014