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.
2017 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP, RR, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: Sp
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP
2004 | Sparse
Endemic. South Island from southern Canterbury to Fiordland.
A sparse component of upper montane to subalpine tussock grasslands (1200-1600 m. a.s.l.).
Delicate, gracile tussock with hairy, stramineous sheaths. Leaf-sheath to 100 mm, very hairy, entire, margins often undulose, apical tuft of hairs up to 3.5 mm. Ligule 0.5 mm. Leaf-blade up to 300 x 2.5 mm, more or less flat, to U or V-shaped, strongly keeled, twisting above, disarticulating at ligule, abaxial surfaces prickled toothed, adaxial also with prickle-teeth; margin with long hairs below, these becoming prickle-toothed or rarely, otherwise glabrous and smooth. Culm to 600 mm, slender, internodes glabrous. Inflorescence to 130 mm, glabrous except for long hairs at branch axils. Spikelets golden and purple, comprising up to 8 florets. Glumes usually less than nearest lemma lobes; lower to 10 mm, 1-3-5-nerved, upper to 11 mm, 3-5-7-nerved. Lemma 5.5. mm or less; hairs dense on margins and astride central nerve, sparse or absent otherwise; lateral lobes to 4 mm, shortly awned or triangular-acute; central awn to 7 mm arising from a flat, rarely twisting, column to 2 mm. Palea 7 mm or less. Callus to 1 mm, hairs to 2.5 mm. Rachilla to 1 mm. Anthers 3.5 mm. Ovary 1 mm, stigma-styles 2 mm. Seed 2 mm.
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
Distinguished from C. pallens subsp. cadens Connor by its slender, gracile (rather than stout) habit, thin almost membranous, undulose (rather than firm and flat) sheath margins; and by the flat leaf-blade which is up to 2.5 mm rather than 10 mm wide.
Florets are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Rather widespread but never particularly common. There is no evidence that the species is threatened but it is poorly known by field workers that the species might be better treated as Data Deficient until further surveys have clarified its status.
chionochloa: Snow grass
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (June 2005). 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