Vascular – Native
Trees & Shrubs - Dicotyledons
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 = 30
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 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Small tree with smallish round or oval distinctively mottled (hence common name) toothed leaves; branchlets zig-zag (particularly when young).
Endemic. Widespread. North, South and Stewart Islands.
Coastal to montane (10-1000 m a.s.l.). Moist broadleaf forest, locally common in beech forest. A frequent component of secondary forest. Streamsides and forest margins.
Monoecious small tree up to 10 m tall. Trunk slender, bark rough, corky, mottled grey-white, often knobbled due to insect boring. Juvenile plants with distinctive zig-zag branching which is retained to a lesser degree in branchlets of adult. Leaves broad-elliptic to broad-ovate or suborbicular; dark green, marbled; membranous becoming thinly coriaceous; margin serrately toothed; tip acute to obtuse. Juvenile leaves 10-30 mm x 10-20 mm. Adult leaves 40-60 mm x 20-30mm. Petioles c. 10 mm; petioles, peduncles and pedicels pubescent; lenticels prominent. Flowers in panicles at branchlet tips; panicles to 50 x 50 mm; flowers 5-6 mm diam.; calyx lobes c. 1 mm long, triangular-attenuate; petals white, ovate, acute, 3-4 mm long. Stamens 5-6, alternating with petals; filaments short. Stigma capitate, tip dark; ovules many. Fruit an indehiscent subfleshy-fleshy capsule, 4-6 mm diam., black when mature; cupped in remains of calyx. Seeds many per capsule, in 3-5 locules, small, 1-2 mm long; testa reticulate.
Not likely to be confused with any other NZ shrub or small tree. Perhaps most similar to juvenile kaikōmako (Pennatia corymbosa) which does not have mottled leaves and the leaves are only toothed in the top half (reminiscent of a ducks foot).
January-February (though dried fruit present at any time)
Fleshy berries are dispersed by frugivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).
carpodetus: Fruit bound together (girdled)
This species is damaged by the burrowing larvae of the native puriri moth (Aenetus virescens). Caterpillars create burrows in the trunk and feed on cambium at the burrow entrance, creating characteristic diamond-shaped feeding scars. The caterpillar hides the web entrance with a silken web. Heavy feeding can weaken trees, in particular those with thin trunks. For more information about the life-cycle of the puriri moth and a list of other host species follow this link. (Martin, 2010).
Description adapted from Allan (1961), puriri moth information modified from Martin (2010.
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961. Flora of NZ I. Government Printer, Wellington.
Martin, N. A. (2010). Puriri moth - Aenetus virescens fact sheet, retrieved from the website Interesitng Insects and other Invertebrates. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/factsheet/OrganismProfile/Puriri_moth_-_Aenetus_virescens.html
Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309