Parsonsia praeruptis


Parsonsia: Named after James Parsons, 18th century London physician and botanical author

Common Name(s)

North Cape native jasmine, North Cape parsonsia

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered

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, RF
2009 - CD, OL


Parsonsia praeruptis Heads et de Lange



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Lianes and Related Trailing Plants




Endemic. New Zealand: North Island, Te Paki where it is confined to the 120 ha exposure of ultramafic rocks at North Cape/Surville Cliffs (Heads & de Lange 1999)


An ultramafic endemic confined to low scrub, talus and boulder field, and jointed and crevices within the exposed serpentinitic rocks and cliff faces of the Surville Cliffs area. It usually grows with Coprosma distantia, C. neglecta, Leucopogon xerampelinus dand carex ophiolithica .


Procumbent subshrub producing erect, stiff, unbranched, soemwhat trailing, leafy stems 0.15-1.4 m long, 3 mm diam. Stems sometimes rooting at nodes, never climbing or twinning, smooth, pale grey-brown. Internodes 10-50 mm long. Leaves yellowish-green, subcoriaceous, prophylls orbicular, 5 x 5 mm, usually present, subsequent leaves larger, variably shaped, oblong or ovate-triangular, not heterophyllous, petiole 1-2 mm long, leaf buttress geniculate below abscission zone, lamina 5-30 x 5-15 mm, leaf base truncate-subcordate, apex obtuse-subacute, usually truncate, mucronate, margin entire. Inflorescences axillary or terminal 25-flowered panicles. Flowers 5-merous, 4 mm long. Calyx lobes 1.5-2 mm, ovate. Corolla white, lobes 2-2.2 mm long, spreading, tube 2 mm long, rose-coloured. Follicles (fruits) 50-110 x 3-4 mm. Seeds 9 x 1.5 mm, coma 12 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Parsonia capsularis is similar but this is a larger climbing, twining vine, whose leaves though remarkably variable are never ovate with truncate bases. The flowers in P. capsularis have hairy calyx lobes, and longer peduncles and pedicels. P. capsularis as currently circumscribed comprises a number of distinct named varieties several of which should probably be regarded as full species. Further research is needed. recently (2009) Parsonsia capsularis has been found growing sympatrically with P. praeruptis.


September - April

Flower Colours



October - April

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Does best in a free-draining, magnesium enriched soil within a pot. Seems to thrive when root bound, and likes full sun.


A naturally uncommon species endemic to the 120 ha exposure of serpentinised peridotite rock known as the Surville Cliffs Formation. Here Parsonsia praeruptis is very common. However, recently it has been observed that possums selectively browse the fruits and flowers of this species. For this reason Parsonsia praeruptis has changed its threat status from 'At Risk Naturally Uncommon' to 'Threatened / Nationally Endangered' (de Lange et al. 2013)

Chromosome No.

2n = 18

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy
Not commercially available


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (1 August 2005). Description based on Heads & de Lange (1999)

References and further reading

de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Heads, M.J.; de Lange, P. J. 1999: Parsonsia praeruptis (Apocynaceae): a new threatened, ultramafic endemic from North Cape, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 37: 1-6.

This page last updated on 11 Nov 2014