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 = c.80-82
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: DP, Sp
2012 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: PD, Sp
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon
2004 | Data Deficient
Endemic. South Island: east of main divide from Marlborough southwards.
On dry mountains, especially on limestone (and associated rendzina soils) schist outcrops, rocks, sandy banks and slopes.
Cushion plant up to 8cm across, many short stiff tightly packed branches closely covered with leaves. Leaves incurved towards stem, densely overlapping, rounded on back, 2-3mm long; long needle-like tips, no mid-rib evident. Flower stalks short. Flowers 3mm long, with 5 sepals, broader than leaves, with thickened midrib, ending in short needle-like tip.
Colobanthus canaliculatus, C. buchananii. C. brevisepalus has overlapping, shorter leaves than C. canaliculatus with its spreading, longer leaves. C. buchananii has sepals longer than petals.
No information available
No information available
Winged seeds are dispersed by water and possibly also wind and ballistic projection (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Small divisions can be grown but the species is tricky, and does best in pots within an alpine house.
Colobanthus brevisepalus is probably not seriously threatened. However in parts of its range it has been replaced by aggressive introduced weeds. Furthermore it is not often collected, suggesting that it has either declined or is being overlooked by modern plant collectors.
colobanthus: Mutilated flower wth no petals
brevisepalus: Short sepal
Fact sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange for NZPCN (1 June 2013).
References and further reading
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.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Colobanthus brevisepalus Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/colobanthus-brevisepalus/ (Date website was queried)