taramea karupuru, Chatham Island speargrass,
Gingidium traversii F. Muell.
Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
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.
2n = 22
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley.
2012 | At Risk – Recovering | Qualifiers: CD, EF, IE, RR
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | At Risk – Recovering | Qualifiers: CD, EF, IE, RR
2004 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered
Endemic. Rekohu (Chatham), Rangihaute (Pitt) and Mang’ere Islands. Aciphylla traversii was recorded from Mang’ere in 1968 but it has not been seen there since. The record is unsubstantiated by a herbarium specimen, and as there is no suitable habitat for this species on that island, this record must be considered suspect.
A species of peat bogs and open sandy/peaty soils. Aciphylla traversii is most commonly encountered on the margins of bogs and peat lakes, it can be locally common following on peat that has been recently burned, and is often found along trails and tracks through restiad peat bogs.
Stout, tufted, dioecious (? gynodioecious) perennial up to 1 m tall. Taproot napiform. All parts exuding yellow-resinous exudate when damaged. Leaves, numerous, dark green to brown-green with pale, white or yellow margins and yellow interstices, somewhat flaccid to semi-rigid, margins smooth. Petiole 0.1–0.25 m long, broadly sheathed near base, sheaths up to 50 mm long, stipules spinulose. Leaf lamina 0.15–0.46 × 0.15–0.8 mm, pinnate, pinnae articulated to axis, striate, coriaceous, narrow-linear, longitudinal veins often conspicuous, these interrupted by prominent yellowish cross-veinlets at 10–30 mm spacing (sometimes less, sometimes more); primary pinnae in 2–4(–6) pairs, these 100–460 mm long, 5–10 mm wide, secondary pinnae very infrequent, if present then as 2(–4) pairs, 20–30 mm long, 4–8 mm wide. Inflorescences an open panicle up to 1.0 × 0.4 m, main axis stout, and rigidly firm when fresh with fibrous outer layer and white, pithy inner, long persistent after flowering / seeds has been dispersed, inner portion hollowing and outer eventually breaking into long fibrous shards when spent. Umbels with (6–)8–10(–16), subpaniculate. Peduncules 30–60(–80) mm long stout, striate. Primary bracts up to 50 mm long, 6 mm wide, variable, often linear deltoid, broad at base gradually tapering, white in ♂ inflorescences yellow-green in ♀, submembranous, margins smooth, apices bluntly pungent; otherwise with pinkish bases, submembranous, with upper half rigid, green, pungent; upper most primary bracts often 3-foliolate, coriaceous, green pungent. ♂ umbels with 10–16(or more) rays up to 8 mm long, slender, ♀ umbels similar but with 6–8 (rarely more) rays. Involucral bracts often absent, if present lanceolate, acuminate, caducous. Flowers of ♂ (⚥?) creamy white, those of ♀ greenish yellow or pale yellow; ♂ petals 2.0–2.5(–3.0) mm long, ovate-oblong, ♀ petals 1.8–2.2 mm long, oblong. Fruit 8–10 × 6 mm long, tan, golden-brown or brown when mature, mericarps 3–5-winged, vittae 1–2 per furrow, 3–5 commissural.
Aciphylla traversii is one of two species of Aciphylla on the Chatham Islands, the other A. dieffenbachii is a very different looking plant of coastal cliff faces and sand dune habitats. Because of their different habitat preferences the ranges of both taramea rarely overlap. Aciphylla traversii is however, distinguished from A. dieffenbachii by the less divided, erect, more rigid dark green, brown-green rather than heavily divided, flaccid, decurved blue-green leaves, and by the production of yellowish resinous exudate, rather than white latex. The inflorescences of Aciphylla traversii are also stoutly erect with the umbels more evenly spaced, rather than globose, semi-aggregated. The subtending bracts of A. dieffenbachii are pinnatifid, those of Aciphylla traversii usually simple sometimes 3-foliolate. Despite these differences and ecological partitioning there is some evidence that both species can hybridise with each other.
November - February
January - June
Domestic stock and feral mammals are prime threats. Rodents probably eat seeds and seedlings; possums probably eat flowers and seedlings. Over-topping by regenerating shrubs and trees presents a threat of shading out the speargrass.
aciphylla: From the Latin acicula ‘needle’ and the Greek phyllum ‘leaf’, meaning needle-leaf.
traversii: Named after William Thomas Locke Travers (1819-1903) who was an Irish lawyer, magistrate, politician, explorer, naturalist, photographer. He lived in New Zealand from 1849 and was a fellow of the Linnean Society.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 25 April 2022. Description by P.J. de Lange 25 April 2022
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Aciphylla traversii Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/aciphylla-traversii/ (Date website was queried)