Canavalia rosea


Canavalia: This is a latinized form of kanavali a Malabar vernacular and the name for this genus of climbing herbs.

Common Name(s)


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


2012 - OL, SO
2009 - DC. SO, OL


Canavalia rosea DC.



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 Lianes and Related Trailing Plants


Canavalia maritima Thouars, Canavalia obtusifolius (Lam.) DC.


Indigenous. In New Zealand known only from the Kermadec Islands where it is not very common. Found throughout the warmer parts of the Pacific and Indian Oceans


In New Zealand found on boulder beaches and sand dunes on the Kermadec Islands. This is a common beach strand plant of the Pacific Islands, where it usually grows with Lepturus repens (G.Forst.) R.Br., Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis (L.) Ooststr., and Vignea marina (Burm.) Merr.


Perennial herb, procumbent and creeping or subscandent to lianoid. Stems up to 3 m, trailing, pubescent with appressed-pilose hairs when young. Leaflets 40-120 × 35-80 mm, dark green above, paler beneath, broad-obovate, broad elliptic, orbicular to obovate, apex rounded or emarginate, pilose-hairy when young, especially below, glabrescent. Inflorescences erect, racemose, few-flowered, peduncles stout, 50-300 mm long. Flowers clustered toward apex of rachis; pedicels 2-6 mm long. Calyx 8 mm long, upper lip 4 mm long, pilose. Petals dark pink; standard broadly elliptic-orbicular to orbicular, c.30 mm, rounded; wings and keel oblanceolate. Ovary silky-hairy; ovules c.7. Pods linear-oblong, initially dark green drying brownish-black, 70-140 × 25-30 mm, glabrescent, with a double rib dorsally and a single ventral rib. Seeds 15-20 mm, brown, often with dark markings, ellipsoid, somewhat flattened.

Similar Taxa

None in New Zealand. A distinctive strand species which cannot be confused with any other plant growing in a similar habitat within the New Zealand Botanical Region.


Throughout the year

Flower Colours

Red / Pink


Throughout the year

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed. However extremely cold sensitive. Various attempts to cultivate it in New Zealand have so far failed because plants die during the winter months.


Not threatened. However very uncommon reaching its world southern limit in the New Zealand Botanical Region. Because it occupies such a narrow geographic area it is listed as Range Restricted.

Chromosome No.

2n = 22

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Seeds are dispersed by water (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Not commercially available (very cold sensitive)


Description based on herbarium specimens held at AK and observations of cultivated material and plants seen in the wild on Raoul, Norfolk and Rarotonga.

References and further reading

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309

This page last updated on 25 May 2014