Olearia lineata


Olearia: Derived from the latinised name (Olearius) of the 17th century German botanist Adam Oelenschlager
lineata: Linear, striped with a parallel line (plumb line)

Common Name(s)

None known

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Declining

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 - At Risk - Declining
2004 - Sparse


2012 - PD, RF
2009 - RF, PD


Olearia lineata (Kirk) Cockayne



Brief Description

Bushy small tree bearing masses of erect square in cross-section twigs that have clusters of small very thin leaves that are white underneath inhabiting damper sites in the southern 2/3 of the South Island. Leaves 15-40mm long by 1-2mm wide, surface not wrinkled. Flowers small, in clusters.

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


Olearia virgata var. lineata Kirk


Endemic. South Island, easterly from north Canterbury south to Southland and Stewart Island.


Lowland to montane (10-300 m a.s.l.) grey scrub, tussock grassland and forest margins. Often on river terraces in or near seepages and ephemeral wetlands, on occasion even growing in shallow water. Also found on the margins of steep river gorges, and in and amongst rock outcrops, boulder field and at the toe of alluvial fans.


Small tree up to 8 m tall with narrow to broad canopy crowns. Trunk stout, erect, solitary, sometimes several arising from the ground, up to 0.6 m d.b.h. Bark grey or charcoal-grey, firm, deeply furrowed, shedding in tough, corky shards. Branches sparse to numerous, at first ascending then widely spreading; branchlets grey to charcoal grey, more or less square and angled in cross-section, deeply and longitudinally grooved, slender, at first erect then spreading, ultimately pendulous. Brachyblasts 10-30 mm long distantly spaced. Leaves 2-10-fascicled; 20-60 x 0.4-0.8 mm, linear to very narrow-linear, upper surface dark green more or less covered with finely appressed greyish-white indument, glabrate to glabrous with age, undersides clad in soft, white to greyish-white appressed tomentum, margin often strongly revolute. Capitula discoid, 1-8-fascicled, 2-4(-6) mm diameter, pedicellate, pedicels up to 40 mm long; florets 6-10, off-white to white (rarely creamy yellow), involucral bracts 2-4-seriate, narrowly lanceolate to oblanceolate, undersides finely grey-white villous. Cypsela 1-2 mm long, compressed, finely pubescent, puberulent to glabrescent, pappus hairs 2-3 mm long, off white to buff.

Similar Taxa

None - the greyish coloured branches, mature trees with typically spreading canopy crowns, numerous pendulous branchlets, finely linear, greyish-green leaves, and distinctively long pedicellate flowers are unique to this species. Olearia lineata cv. Dartonii is a popular cultivar grown widely and often erroneously as this species, it has similar but wider green to grey-green leaves with very white undersides and a less pendulous more narrowly erect growth habit. It seems to be a hybrid involving Olearia lineata and O. traversiorum (F.Muell.) Hook.f.


November - January

Flower Colours



January - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from semi-hardwood cuttings and fresh seed. A beautiful specimen tree which is very drought tolerant once established but can also tolerate waterlogged soils, and is of course extremely cold tolerant. The fine, linear, grey-green leaves and somewhat spreading pendulous branches and stout tree habit are particularly noteworthy. It deserves to be more widely cultivated than it currently is.


Widespread and at times locally abundant (especially in some parts of Central Otago) O. lineata is otherwise often known from only widely scattered sites with few individuals. Although widespread the majority of the known populations are not officially protected and recruitment is often lacking. Olearia lineata together with the majority of Eastern South Island endemic Olearia Sect. Divaricaster Heads is the subject of a major Department of Conservation initiated Recovery Plan. As part of that work this species has been subject to intensive survey.

Chromosome No.

2n = 108

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family




This page last updated on 12 Dec 2014