Bulbinella gibbsii var. gibbsii


Bulbinella: little bulb
gibbsii: Named in honor of Frederick G Gibbs (1866-1953)

Common Name(s)

Gibbs Maori Onion, Gibbs Lily, Gibbs Onion

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

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 - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Range Restricted


Bulbinella gibbsii Cockayne var. gibbsii



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

Monocotyledonous Herbs




Endemic. Stewart Island.


Coastal to alpine (mainly alpine) in damp ground, in cushion bogs and seepages, sometimes fringing ponds and small ephemeral pools.


Subdioecious, diminutive, summer green, fleshy, lily up to 300 mm tall. Leaves up to 30 mm wide, strap-like, reddish green to dark green, fleshy. Peduncle mostly shorter than raceme. Raceme mostly conical (rarely cylindric), the axis visible between flowers. Pedicels 10-20 mm long, swollen below flower, elongating slightly after anthesis. Bracts long-acuminate, notably longer than pedicel in flowering and fruiting material. Flowers 10-14 mm diameter, dark yellow, numerous, densely crowded; tepals patent, becoming erect and hardening as fruit matures. Stamens 6, < tepals; anthers mostly well filled with pollen. Ovary not stipitate. Capsules broad-ovoid. Seeds dark and narrowly winged.

Similar Taxa

Allied to B. rossii (Hook.f.) Cheeseman which is a much more robust species (up to 1 m tall) endemic to the Auckland and Campbell Islands. Bulbinella rossii has consistently cylindrical racemes. The axis is very stout and more or less obscured by the densely crowded, distinctly dioecious flowers. The stigma is prominently capitate. Bulbinella gibbsii var. balanifera L.B.Moore is a larger plant that var. gibbsii with longer peduncles and pedicels. The pedicels greatly exceed the subtending bracts. The ovary and capsules are barrel-shaped rather than broadly ovoid, with bases that only gradually narrow and which are scarcely stipitate. Bulbinella gibbsii var. balanifera is found in the North and South Islands but not on Stewart Island.


January - February

Flower Colours



February - March

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild. Has been cultivated with limited success in the more southerly parts of the country.


Not Threatened. Listed only because with respect to the rest of the New Zealand archipelago it occupies a small geograpgic area

Chromosome No.

2n = 14

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available.


Description modified from Moore and Edgar (1970)

References and further reading

Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Government Printer, Wellington. 354pp.

This page last updated on 27 Aug 2013