Pimelea barbata subsp. barbata


Pimelea: from the Greek pimele, referring to the seeds
barbata: From the Latin 'barbus', meaning bearded or provided with tufts of long weak hairs

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 - Data Deficient


2012 - RR


Pimelea barbata C.J. Burrows subsp. barbata



Brief Description

Low growing greyish shrub bearing pairs of hairy oval leaves and clusters of white flowers inhabiting the Maungaharuru and Te Waka Ranges in Hawkes Bay. Twigs hairy. Leaves dense, 7-10mm long by 4-6mm wide, hairier underneath. Flowers white, body hairy. Fruit red.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


None - first described in 2011


Endemic. New Zealand: North Island (near Gisborne (?Historic), Hawkes Bay (Maungaharuru Range south to Titiokura and the Te Waka ridge). Also nearby Hukanui peak (M. Thorsen pers. obs.).


Montane to subalpine in short grassland on limestone cliffs, cliff tops, and below these on fallen limestone blocks talus slopes.


Prostrate shrubs, sometimes forming large patches, to 1 m or more wide; may be pendent on cliffs. Branching mainly sympodial. Young branchlets brown, densely covered by relatively long white to dull-white hairs; internodes 1.5-6.0 mm long; older stems glabrate, grey-brown to brown. Node buttresses lunate (0.4 mm long) masked by hairs on young branchlets, not very prominent on leafless stems. Leaves decussate, on very short petioles (0.4 mm), ascending, often becoming patent to deflexed. Lamina 7-10 × 4-6 mm, broad-ovate, sometimes oblong, slightly adaxially concave, obtuse (rarely acute), base cuneate. Adaxial leaf hairs usually sparse; abaxial hairs dense. Vesture moderately long, white to dull-white, hispid, villous, or rarely curled, appressed and often antrorse. Older leaves may be glabrate, dull-green. Mid-vein may be evident abaxially. Stomata on both adaxial and abaxial surfaces. Inflorescences terminal on branchlets, compact, 2-7-flowered. Involucral bracts 4, the same size as or larger than adjacent leaves (7-10 × 4-6 mm). Receptacle with dense, long hairs. Plants gynodioecious. Flowers white on very short pedicels (0.6 mm). Outside densely hairy, inside hairless. Female tube 4 mm long, ovary portion 2 mm, calyx lobes 1.8 × 1.2 mm; hermaphrodite tube 6.5 mm long, ovary portion 2 mm, calyx lobes 2.3 × 1.9 mm. Anther dehiscence introrse. Ovary with short sparse hairs on summit. Fruits ovoid, fleshy, red 5.0-6.0 × 3.5-4.0 mm; seeds ovoid 3.2 × 2.0 mm, crest thin.

Similar Taxa

Pimelea barbata is allied to P. mimosa from which it differs by its smaller leaf length and wide leaves (7-10 × 4-6 mm in P. barbata cf. 9.0-2.0 × 2.5-5.0 mm in P. mimosa). Pimelea barbata subsp. barbata is closely allied to Pimelea barbata subsp. omoia from which it is geographically isolated (being confined to the Hawkes Bay mountains (with one lowland record from near Gisborne)) and ecologically distinct (being restricted to calcareous (limestone) substrates. Morphologically it differs by its leaf size (7-10 mm long cf. 8-12 mm long). Further study of Pimelea barbata (including subsp. omoia) and P. mimosa using DNA sequence data would be useful, as these distinctions seem relatively minor and there is much overlap in the key characters (leaf length and width) used by Burrows (2011) to define them.


September - January

Flower Colours



December - May

Propagation Technique

Easily propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings and layered pieces. An excellent rockery plant which flourishes in a sunny, well drained rich soil. Intolerant of competition, water logging and humidity.


Pimelea barbata subsp. barbata has been formally listed as "Taxonomically Indeterminate/Naturally Uncommon in Appendix 2 of de Lange et al. (2009) as Pimelea aff. aridula (d) (CHR 221089; Maungaharuru) qualified RR (Range Restricted). Beyond its formal taxonomic recognition, Burrows (2011) offers no concrete data or reasons to suggest a change in this status. His paper does note however that the key habitat for subsp. barbata is being considered for a future wind farm.

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where to buy

Not commercially available.



Fact Sheet Prepared for NZPCN by: P.J. de Lange (9 October 2011). Description based on Burrows (2011).

References and further reading

Burrows, C.J. 2011: Genus Pimelea (Thymelaeaceae) in New Zealand 5. The taxonomic treatment of five endemic species with both adaxial and abaxial leaf hair. New Zealand Journal of Botany 49: 367-412.

de Lange, P.J.; Norton, D.A.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Hitchmough, R.; Townsend, A.J. 2009: Threatened and uncommon plants of New Zealand (2008 revision). New Zealand Journal of Botany 47: 61-96.

This page last updated on 17 Apr 2014