Australina pusilla subsp. pusilla


Australina: From the Latin australis meaning southern.
pusilla: Small

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 - Not Threatened


Australina pusilla Gaudich. subsp. pusilla



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 Herbs other than Composites


Australina novae-zelandiae Hook.f.


Indigenous. New Zealand.: North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. In the North Island (local north of Auckland, common elsewhere). Abundant in the South Island. Known also from Australia (Victoria and Tasmania)


Coastal to montane. Usually in dense riparian forest where it colonises the ground. Often found growing admixed with bitter cresses (Cardamine spp.), nettles (Urtica incisa) and forest sedges like Isolepis reticularis and Schoenus maschalinus.


Dark green to grass green perennial herb producing numerous prostrate and ascending stems, up to 250 mm high and 0.8-1.5 mm diameter. Young stems, petioles and peduncles with an indumentum of stiff, appressed hairs or occasionally also with finer, more erect hairs. Leaves alternate, petiolate; stipules 0.5-1.0 mm long, linear to lanceolate, sometimes ciliate, up to 1 mm long; petiole up to 1.0-1.4(-11.0) mm long; lamina 11-16 x 12-16 mm, orbicular (sometimes broader than long), base cuneate or truncate, margin with 1-4 blunt or rounded teeth, apical tooth almost always broader than long, with 2-4 pairs of lateral nerves, usually glabrous on both sides, occasionally with lines of appressed hairs between the veins, and abaxially sometimes with scattered, appressed hairs on the veins. Male inflorescences 1-3-flowered, usually restricted to the axils of the upper leaves (rarely terminal), borne on pubescent or glabrescent peduncles up to 6 mm long. Flowers up to 1.0 x 1.5 mm, densely pubescent to subglabrous. Female inflorescences 1-9-flowered, sessile. axillary in the leaf axils below those of the male inflorescences. Flowers symmetrical, slightly flattened, with 4 ± marked ridges, subglabrous, apex with 2 marked teeth between which the filiform style protrudes. Fruit an achene, enclosed in a persistent perianth; purple-brown, dark purple-brown to almost black, glabrous, 0.8-1.2 mm long, broadly ovate, sometimes elliptic, obovate or almost circular, asymmetric, biconvex, apex rounded to a narrow pointed (sometimes curved) projection, base rounded to a short, tapering, rounded or flattened, often curved projection, surface dull or shiny, densely papillate or colliculate.

Similar Taxa



September - December

Flower Colours



December - April

Propagation Technique

Easy from division or whole plants, rooted pieces, tip cuttings and fresh seed


Not Threatened. However scarce north of the Waikato.

Chromosome No.


Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available

Taxonomic NOTES

The status of Australina pusilla needs further investigation. Friis & Wilmot-Dear (1988) accept A. pusilla from New Zealand and Australia (the type is from Australia) and recognise two subspecies. Australina pusilla subsp. pusilla is indigenous to Australia and New Zealand, and subsp. muelleri is endemic to Australia. In New Zealand we may have two forms of Australina pusilla - Webb & Simpson (2001) noted seed differences between northern and southern New Zealand populations and Chatham Island plants of A. pusilla seem to be distinct from the rest of New Zealand. Further A. pusilla subsp. muelleri has a range that overlaps with subsp. pusilla, and it seems morphologically very different. Additional study, possibly using DNA-based methodologies and cytological studies may be useful in elevating these differences.


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (18 February 2013). Description adapted from Friis & Wilmot-Dear (1988) and Webb & Simpson (2001)

References and further reading

Friis, I.; Wilmot-Dear, C.M. 1988: A revision of the tribe Forsskaoleae (Urticaceae). Nordic Journal of Botany 8: 25-59.

Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2011: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.

Anonymous. 1955. Botanical at home Australina pusilla. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 13: 5-6

This page last updated on 14 Aug 2014