Coprosma acerosa f. brunnea Kirk
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.
2018 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: DP, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Data Deficient
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Sprawling yellowish small-leaved shrub inhabiting inland open rocky areas. Twigs pale orange, slightly fuzzy at tip. Leaves narrow, small, with dark line down middle on the underside, in clusters of pairs scattered along twigs. Flowers tiny, with long protruding threads. Fruit streaked purple.
Endemic. South and Stewart Islands. Nelson and the drier regions or central and eastern South Island.
Lowland to Alpine. To 1500 m. Often common on stony riverbeds and terraces but also in subalpine scrub and occasionally on open rocky sites in tussock-herbfield.
Prostrate to sprawling with slender flexible interlacing branches and branchlets forming flattened usually rather open wiry mats up to approximately 2 m across, occasionally reaching 1 m or more in height when in scrub. Branches with dark brown bark, branchlets pubescent. Leaves, sparse, in opposite pairs or fascicles on very short petioles. Stipules broadly triangular, obtuse, pubescent, ciliolate. Lamina coriaceous, dark brownish green, glabrous, linear, obtuse, 5-8 (-13) × 0.5-1 mm. Midrib alone evident. Flowers solitary, terminal on short leafy branchlets. Male flower with calyx vestigial or non-existent; corolla broadly campanulate, lobes acute, more or less equal to tube. Female flower with calyx minutely toothed; corolla tubular, lobes acute, more or less equal to tube. Drupe translucent pale blue or with pale blue flecks, globose, 5-6 mm diameter.
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
Coprosma acerosa grows in different habitats (C. acerosa prefers coastal sands throughout distribution) and are not thought to overlap naturally. C. acerosa is generally a more compact growth form with more leaves present.
Coprosma intertexta is bushy but not stiffly erect; the leaves are sharp-tipped in outline and usually red-margined.
Easy from fresh seed, semi-hardwood cuttings and rooted pieces. Prefers free draining soil in a sunny position. Most nursery stock sold over the last few decades as this species is not C. brunnea but an allied segregate of C. acerosa endemic to the Central Volcanic Plateau of the North Island.
Not Threatened. However, it ican be uncommon ove rlarge parts of its range, and is often heavily browsed by rabbits and hares.
coprosma: From the Greek kopros ‘dung’ and osme ‘smell’, referring to the foul smell of the species, literally ‘dung smell’
brunnea: From the Latin brunneus ‘deep brown’
Where To Buy
Occasionally offered by retail plant and specialist native plant nurseries.
Notes on taxonomy
Coprosma brunnea is part of the C. acerosa A.Cunn. complex, and many botanists prefer to regard it as either C. acerosa or a form of it. However, C. brunnea has been found growing sympatrically with C. acerosa, and remaining distinct from it, while nrDNA ITS and ETS sequences show that C. acerosa is a complex aggregate of at least 6 lineages (C. brunnea is one of these), and there are subtle morphological characters to support these lineages. Therefore until further research is conducted into this problem NZPCN think it better to retain C. brunnea at the rank of species.
Description adapted by M. Ward from Allan (1961), Mark (2012), and Wilson & Galloway (1993).
References and further reading
Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand. Vol. 1. Wellington: Government Printer. pg. 567.
Mark, A. F. 2012. Above the Treeline: A Nature Guide to Alpine New Zealand. Craig Potton Publishing, Nelson. pg. 168-169.
Wilson, H. D., & Galloway, T. 1993. Small-leaved shrubs of New Zealand. Manuka Press. pg. 108-110.