Species

Elingamita johnsonii

Common Name(s)

Elingamita

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

Qualifiers

2012 - CD, IE, OL
2009 - OL, IE

Authority

Elingamita johnsonii G.T.S.Baylis

Family

Primulaceae

Brief Description

Small tree with dark green glossy leaves bearing conspicuous red round fruit inhabiting the Three Kings Islands. Leaves 10-18cm long, leathery, widest towards tip, small pale dots visible when held up against the light. Fruit around 17mm wide, in tight clusters.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs

Synonyms

None

Distribution

Endemic. Three kings Islands where it is known only from West Island and two nearby rocky islets in the Princes Group.

Habitat

Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa Sol. ex Gaertn.) forest and coastal shrub on West island, where it is usually an understorey shrub or small tree. Also grows in exposed places as a canopy emergent especially on HInemoa Rock in the Princes Group.

Features

Stout mostly dioecious tree up to 8 m tall (usually much less). Branches ascending, initialy fleshy to subsucculent, soon becoming woody. Bark grey, smooth (finely lenticellate). Leaves on stout, succulent, coriaceous petioles up to 10 mm long; lamina rigidly coriaceous, 100-200 x 40-190 mm, dark glossy green above, pale beneath, obovate to broadly obovate, margins entire, midrib conspicuous, side veins evident. Inflorescences terminal, paniculate up to 60 x 60 mm, enlarging in fruit; bracteate with bracts shedding as inflorescence matures. Flowers with valvate sepals. Male flowers yellow to yellowish -pink, 4-6-partite, corolla longer than sepals (3-6 x 1.0-1.5 mm), narrowly obovate to broadly oblong. Filaments longer than corolla; anthers elliptic, pollen yellow to yellow-orange. Female flowers pale yellow to pink bearing rudimentary or rarely functional stamens, corolla shorter than sepals, 2.5 x 1-1.5 mm, adnate, shortly oblong to tubular, dehiscing after flowering as a ring. Ovary ovoid, tapered into a stout style. Fruit a globose to subglobose, drupe up to 20 mm diameter, bright red with white flesh. Seed single, enclosed within a brittle subcoriaceous grey-brown to greyish-white endocarp.

Similar Taxa

None - the unusual, greyish, almost turgid trunks and stems, dark green, glossey, entire leaves and large grape-like bunches of red, fleshy fruit are very distinctive.

Flowering

February - May, sometimes also August - November

Flower Colours

Red / Pink,Yellow

Fruiting

Fruit take a year to ripen so can be present at anytime

Propagation Technique

Easy from seed - though this can take up to a year to germinate. Cuttings are slow to strike. Seedlings grow very rapidly and do best in semi-shade, though once established plants thrive in full sun. A fertile, free draining soil is recommended. This species is predominantly dioecious so male and female plants are needed to ensure that the attractive grape-like bunches of red fruit are produced. An excellent small specimen tree for the garden. However, very cold and frost sensitive.

Threats

Currently not threatened but the entire world population occupies a rather small area on one rocky island and two very small adjacent rock islets. These habitats are currently rodent-free. So the species remains vulnerable to stochastic events, fire, and as the fruit is very palatable rats.

Chromosome No.

2n = 46

Endemic Taxon

Yes

Endemic Genus

Yes

Endemic Family

No

Where To Buy

Occasionally to frequently available from mainline plant and specialist native plant nurseries.

Cultural Use/Importance

The tree takes its name from its originally discovery on West Island, the island that was hit by the steamer the Elingamite. The red, fleshy fruit are edible, the flesh tasting somewhat like an oily, salty apple.

Notes on taxonomy

Elingamita is one of New Zealands endemic, monotypic genera. Its relationship to other genera of the Myrsinaceae has yet to be properly established.

   

This page last updated on 6 Dec 2014