Coprosma myrtillifolia Hook. f.
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 = 88
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
Bushy shrub with wide-angled branches bearing very small pairs of leaves that have small hairs along the leaf margin and also underneath. Twigs covered in small hairs at tip. Leaves thin, longer than wide, with 1 or 2 pits on underside. Fruit orange.
North, South, Stewart, Auckland, Campbell and Antipodes Islands. From the Tararua Range southwards.
Lowland to higher montane, 0-900 m, forest and grassland, apparently almost throughout, but local except in southern portion of range.
Variable, erect or spreading or sometimes sub-prostrate shrub up to approximately 3 m tall. Branches slender, branchlets pubescent. Leaves on petioles (1-) 2-3 (-4) mm long, hairy. Stipules subacute, pubescent, densely ciliate, with conspicuous tuft at apex. Lamina thin, pubescent, broad-ovate to oval to oblong, acute to obtuse, (6-) 10 (-20) x (1.5-) 4-5 (-10) mm. Midrib (pilose above and below) and principal secondary veins usually evident on both surfaces. Flowers solitary, axillary. Male flower without calyx; corolla funnelform, lobes ovate-triangular, acute, equal to tube. Female flower with acute, short, triangular calyx-teeth; corolla subcampanulate, cut 1/2 way into acute lobes. Drupe white or yellow or orange or pink or purplish-red, globose to oblong, approximately 6-7 mm diameter.
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
Although certainly a distinct species, some forms of Coprosma are infuriatingly difficult to distinguish from some forms of C. ciliata.
Coprosma dumosa has smaller fruit, 4-5 mm diameter, and usually watery white or yellow or pink or orange or red. If pigmented, the colour is all in the skin; the flesh of the fruit is clear and watery (whereas in C. ciliata the flesh as well as the skin is usually coloured). C. dumosa has more leathery
leaves which tend to be widest toward the tip, which is generally more rounded, and blunt (C. ciliata leaves are widest about the middle and thinner and tend to taper to a pointed apex). C. dumosa is less hairy than most forms of C. ciliata.
Coprosma rubra has flattened leaf stalks, a small denticle at the tip of most stipules, and yellowish white oblong fruit 4-6 mm long.
Coprosma parviflora has violet fruit and lack a prominent tuft of hairs on the stipule.
Coprosma crassifolia shaded leaves can have hair-fringed margins as in C. ciliata and C. rubra, but the very pale under-surface of the leaf contrasting with the dark green leathery upper surface is distinctive; so is the smooth, red-brown, rather glossy bark on older branches and trunks.
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’
ciliata: From the Latin cilia ‘eyelash’, meaning fringed with hairs
In Allan (1961), Oliver, in the course of his discussion, which should be consulted, says: “Hooker described from the Auckland Islands under the name of C. myrtillifolia specimens having smaller leaves wanting hairs on the margin. Besides a portion of the type the Dominion Museum contains a good series of specimens of C. ciliata which I collected at the Auckland, Campbell, and Antipodes islands in 1927. These show variations from large ciliate leaves to small glabrous ones, both often being found on the same branches. C. myrtillifolia corresponds with the form with small glabrous leaves, which I judge to be characteristic of the more exposed positions.”
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. 570-571.
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. 92-93.