squat snow tussock, Fiordland snow tussock
Danthonia ovata Buchanan; Danthonia planifolia Petrie
Vascular – Native
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 = 42
Current conservation status
The threat classification 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) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website 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. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2018 | At Risk – Declining
Previous conservation statuses
2017 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: CD, DP, RR, Sp
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Range Restricted
Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (Fiordland).
Subalpine to alpine. Inhabiting wet or seasonally poorly drained ground within grasslands. Also colonising damp sites within rock crevices
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Commonly occurs as either a hydrophyte or non-hydrophyte (non-wetlands).
Sparingly tufted tussock with shoots clothed in many old, fibrous, entire sheaths; flowering shoot taller than the leaves which eventually disarticulate at ligule; sheaths, culms, spikelets often purpled or golden. Leaf-sheath to 100 mm, persistent, entire, prominently ribbed, inter-rib hairs minute, apical tuft of hairs to 2 mm. Ligule to 3.5 mm. Leaf-blade to 250 × 5 mm, flat, disarticulating at ligule, spiralling above, pungent, abaxially glabrous, adaxially with scattered prickle-teeth; margin smooth or sometimes with prickle-teeth. Culm to 450 mm, internodes glabrous except for hairs below inflorescence. Inflorescence to 100 mm, shortly branched; rachis, branches and pedicels long hairy. Spikelets of up to 8 strongly purpled florets. Glumes > adjacent lemma lobes; lower to 11 mm, 1-5-nerved, acute, sometimes bifid, upper to 16 mm, 3-5-7-nerved, acute. Lemma to 8 mm; hairs dense on margin and aside central nerve, usually glabrous elsewhere, < sinus; lateral lobes to 7 mm acute, or produced into awn up to 5 mm, or long triangular-acute; central awn to 20 mm divergent from 1.5 mm flat column. Palea to 9 mm. Callus to 1 mm, hairs to 3 mm. Rachilla to 0.75 mm. Lodicules to 1 mm. Anthers to 3 mm. Ovary to 1 mm; stigma-styles to 2.5 mm. Seed to 3.25 mm
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
October - December
December - April
Florets are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from fresh seed and rooted pieces. Prefers a permanently damp, acidic soil and semi-shade. Plants must never be allowed to dry out.
A very widespread Fiordland endemic. No serious threats to this species are known.
chionochloa: Snow grass
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Description modified from Edgar and Connor (2000)
References and further reading
Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2000: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. V. Grasses. Christchurch, Manaaki Whenua Press. 650 pp.
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 11: 285-309