Myosotis lytteltonensis


Myosotis: mouse-eared

Common Name(s)

Lyttelton forget-me-not

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Critical

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 - Threatened - Nationally Critical
2004 - Threatened - Nationally Critical


2012 - CD, Sp
2009 - CD, Sp


Myosotis lytteltonensis (Laing et A.Wall) de Lange



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


Myosotis australis var. lytteltonensis Laing et A.Wall


Endemic. North and South Islands. In the North Island formerly recorded from Owhiro Bay, Wellington. In the South Island similar plants have been collected from the Swale River, inland Kaikoura Range in the early part of last century. All current records come from Banks Peninsula, in several sites overlooking Lyttelton Harbour.


Generally coastal, on cliff faces, but also found inland. Usually on sparsely vegetated rock ledges, crevices and rock overhangs, nearly always in damp and shady places.


Short-lived robust, perennial herb. Rosette leaves on stout petioles 30-70 mm long, sheathing at base; lamina 25-40 x 8-15 mm, broadly oblong to spathulate, obtuse to retuse, apex apiculate, all parts hairy, hairs, long silky, more or less appressed. Lateral branches numerous 150 x 450(-800) mm long, decumbent to prostrate, trailing, ascending at tips, copiously covered in straight, somewhat appressed hairs. Upper stem leaves petiolate becoming sessile, 25-35 x 15-30 mm. Inflorescence cymose, with many subsidiary laterals. Flowers usually white, or white with yellow eye, 10 mm diam. Pedicels 2-5(-10) mm. Calyx tubular, 5-lobed, lobes linear to linear-lanceolate, acuminate, outer surface densely invested with straight hairs. Corolla tube funnelform, twice calyx length, scales 5; lobes 5, shortly-obtuse to rounded. Anthers inserted within tube, tips scarcely reaching scales. Style reaching or exceeding corolla scales. Nutlets ovoid, glossy, greyish black.

Similar Taxa

Similar to Myosotis forsteri from which it differs by the under surfaces of the rosette leaves which lack orange glands and have few if any retrorse hairs, and by the larger, more deeply cut and hairer calyces. Not closely allied to any of the other entities currently included in New Zealand under the Australian named M. australis R.Br.


(September-) October - January. However plants may be found flowering throughout the year

Flower Colours



May be present throughout the year

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and does well in a sunny situation. An excellent pot-plant. Inclined to be short-lived, and dislikes humidity. In humid climates it is prone to powdery mildew and other fungi, and can be difficult to grow.


The North Island occurrence was destroyed by quarry operations. There have been no recent collections from the Kaikoura region. The Banks Peninsula populations were at severe risk from feral goats, most of which have now been eliminated from the peninsula. Currently Banks Peninsula plants are threatened by weeds which have invaded many of its bluff, ledge and cliff habitats.

Chromosome No.

2n = 40

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Can be purchased from Oratia Native Plant Nurseries (info@oratianatives.co.nz)

Taxonomic Notes

Myosotis australis var. lytteltonensis was elevated to species rank by de Lange in de Lange et al. (2010).


Fact Sheet prepared for the NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 14 April 2006. Description by P.J. de Lange and subsequently published in de Lange et al. (2010).

References and further reading

de Lange, P.J.; Heenan, P.B.; Norton, D.A.; Rolfe, J.R.; Sawyer, J.W.D. 2010: Threatened Plants of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.

This page last updated on 2 Aug 2017