Melicytus chathamicus


Melicytus: From the Greek meli (honey) and kytos (hollow container), referring to the staminal nectaries of the flowers. Literally "honey-cave"
chathamicus: From the Chathams

Common Name(s)

Chatham Island mahoe

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 - IE, RR
2009 - IE


Melicytus chathamicus (F.Muell.) Garn.-Jones



Brief Description

Small tree bearing oval toothed leaves which have the veins much more visible on the underside inhabiting the Chatham Islands. Leaves 5-13cm long by 2-5cm wide, teeth or margin more obvious towards the tip. Flowers small. Fruit small, white flecked purple or entirely dark purple.

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


Hymenanthera latifolia var. chathamica F.Muell., Hymenanthera chathamica (F.Muell.) Kirk


Endemic to the Chatham Islands. Present on Chatham (Rekohu), Pitt, South East (Rangitira), Mangere and Little Mangere Islands


A common component of coastal forests, occurring on fertile ground in bush remnants and in coastal scrub.


A tree that grows up to 8 m tall and has pale bark. The leaves are up to 12 cm long, leathery, lance-shaped and toothed, with either pale green or bright red leaf stalks. The tiny flowers can be seen in spring, while the fruit are white berries speckled with purple, which have been recorded from September to April. Male and female flowers occur in separate plants.




September - April


Browsing animals can prevent regeneration and long exposure of forest remnants to grazing has commonly resulted in the loss of this species from the forest.

Chromosome No.

2n = 32

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.


Recorded growing in the wild in the Awarua Ecoligical District in Southland, presumably from garden escapes. 

This page last updated on 1 Nov 2018