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 = 44
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 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Common bushy tall shrub with pairs of small thin pointed leaves. Twigs hairy. Leaves thin, veins visible, tapering to both the sharp tip and leaf stalk, with small pit at junction of veins, in pairs with a small long-tipped scale between the base of the leaf stems. Fruit dark purple.
North, South and Stewart Islands.
Lowland to lower montane forest.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
FACU: Facultative Upland
Occasionally is a hydrophyte but usually occurs in uplands (non-wetlands).
Shrub or tree up to 3 (-5) m tall, leafy appearance. Branches slender, usually fastigiate, bark grey to fawn-grey; branchlets finely pubescent, pale fawn. Leaves yellow-green to brown-green, fascicled on short branchlets; petioles slender, finely pubescent to pilose, winged 3-7 mm long. Stipules small. obtuse, pubescent to pilose, with conspicuous sharp dark denticle. Lamina membranous, glabrous or nearly so above, sparsely pubescent below, broad-elliptic to obovate, acute to sub-acuminate, apiculate, cuneately narrowed to base, more or less 9-10 (-17) x 7-10 mm. Reticulated veins evident above and below. Flowers, dioecious, solitary or 2-4 together, terminal on short branchlets. Male flower without calyx; corolla broad-funnelform, lobes ovate, acute, more or less equal to tube. Female flower with minute calyx-teeth; corolla sub-campanulate, lobes more or less equal to tube. Drupe dark purple to almost black, globose, 4-5 mm diameter.
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
Coprosma rotundifolia has rounder, hairier, thicker leaves lacking an obvious network of veins (often with purple blotches), and orange fruit.
C. tenuicaulis, which also has prominent vein networks and black round fruit, can be distinguished by a conspicuous terminal tuft of hairs on the stipule. The leaves are thicker in C. tenuicaulis and much less hairy, and the stems are long and slender between the leaf clusters.
C. virescens has leaves less obviously netted with veins, hairless leaf stalks, distinctively patterned bark on trunks and larger branches, usually 3 denticles at the tip of each stipule, and a yellowish white, oblong drupe.
Fleshy drupes are dispersed by frugivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).
coprosma: From the Greek kopros ‘dung’ and osme ‘smell’, referring to the foul smell of the species, literally ‘dung smell’
areolata: Netted, with a network pattern between the veins
Unlike many Coprosma spp. which may occasionally have hermaphrodite flowers present, this species is regarded as strictly dioecious.
Description adapted by M. Ward from Allan (1961), and Wilson & Galloway (1993).
References and further reading
Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand. Vol. 1. Wellington: Government Printer. pg. 578-579, 587.
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.
Wilson, H. D., & Galloway, T. 1993. Small-leaved shrubs of New Zealand. Manuka Press. pg. 86-87.