Pseudopanax laetus


Pseudopanax: false cure
laetus: From the Latin laetus 'bright'

Common Name(s)

None known

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 - Gradual Decline


2009 - RF


Pseudopanax laetus (Kirk) Allan



Brief Description

bushy shrub with large hand-shaped leaves on red 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


Panax arboreus var. laetus Kirk, Nothopanax laetus (Kirk) Cheeseman, Neopanax laetus (Kirk) Philipson


Endemic to the northern part of the North Island from Coromandel to inland Gisborne and Taranaki.


Montane forest.


Small multi-branched tree to 5 m tall, branchlets brittle. Leaves alternate, leaflets 5-7, palmate, on short petiolules. Petiole to 25 cm long, sheathing branchlet at base, stipules present, purplish red. Petiolules stout, purplish red or leaflets subsessile. Leaflets obovate- to cuneate-oblong, thick and coriaceous, green above, paler below, margin coarsely dentate-serrate in distal half, acute or acuminate to subacute; midveins and main lateral veins obvious above and below; teminal lamina 12-25 x 5-10 cm or more, lateral leaflets smaller. Inflorescence a terminal, compound umbel, flowers sometimes subracemose on secondary rays; primary rays (branchlets) 10-15; 15-20 secondary rays. Calyx truncate or obscurely 5-toothed; petals ovate-oblong, acute. Ovary 2-loculed, each containing 1 ovules; style branches 2, spreading. Fruit fleshy, purple, c. 5 mm diam., laterally compressed, style branches retained on an apical disc. 2 Seeds per fruit, broadly-ovate or oblong, wrinkled, 3.4-4.7(-5.1) mm long.

Similar Taxa

The dark red petioles and large leaflets of this species are distinctive


(August)-September to November


October to February

Propagation Technique

Very easy from fresh seed. Can be grown from semi-hardwood cuttings. Very fast growing and tolerant of a wide range of soil types and moisture regimes but dislikes very dry soils. Best in damp soils.


This species is highly palatable to browsing animals. Subsequently it is usually only found in cliff refugia or other similar sites inaccessible to browsing animals. Possums seriously damage plants and have been responsible for its near extinction in some parts.

Chromosome No.

2n = 48

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Common in cultivation and sold by most plant nurseries.

Notes on taxonomy

This species was transferred back to Neopanax Allan by: Frodin, D.G.; Govaerts, R. 2003: World Checklist and Bibliography of Araliaceae, The Cromwell Press, European Union.


Description adapted from Allan (1961), Eagle (2006), Webb and Simpson (2001).

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961. Flora of NZ, Vol. I. Government Printer, Wellington, Eagle, A. 2000.

Eagel, A. 2006. Eagle's complete trees and shrubs of NZ. Te Papa Press, Wellington

Webb, C.J. &  Simpson, M.J.A. 2001. Seeds of NZ gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Manuka Press, Christchurch.

This page last updated on 8 Jan 2014