Coprosma astonii Petrie
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
Shrub with many clusters of small dark green narrow leaves that are dented at the tip on very short side branches. Leaves curved, 9-16mm long by 2mm wide, widest at tip, with a tuft of small hairs between the base of the pairs of leaves. Fruit red, persisting.
South, Stewart, Auckland, and Campbell Islands.
Lowland to subalpine forest, scrub and shrubland, 0-1000 m.
Slender shrub up to 1 m tall, flattened or sprawling in exposed sites. Branches flexible, with dark to very dark brown bark; branchlets usually finely pubescent when young. Leaves usually in rather distant pairs or fascicles, petioles very slender, 1-2 (-3) mm long. Stipules oblong-triangular, subacute to obtuse, pubescent, ciliate, with apical tuft of long hairs. Lamina subcoriaceous, glabrous, linear to very narrow-cuneate, more or less curved, truncate to obtuse, more or less retuse, sometimes mucronulate, (6-) 10-16 x (0.5-) 2 (-3) mm. Midrib evident below, usually impressed above. Flowers unisexual. Male flower solitary or 2-4 together, terminal on short branchlets, calyx not present; corolla funnelform, tube more or less equal to narrow acute lobes. Female flower solitary, terminal; calyx-teeth very short; corolla narrow-funnelform, lobes narrow, acute, more or less equal to tube. Drupe clear red, globose, 3-5 mm diameter.
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
Coprosma cheesemanii has pointed leaves and pale bark.
Coprosma crenulata has much more leathery, broader leaves, light grey bark, and short 3-toothed stipules.
Coprosma microcarpa lacks the indented leaf tips and has small white fruit.
Coprosma linariifolia has distinctive long-sheathing stipules, unique from any other small-leaved forms of that species, and also has pointed leaves, and fruit that is white. or white sprinkled with blue-black flecks.
Coprosma acerosa and its relatives all lack the indented leaf tips and have fruit coloured bright blue, rarely white, often flecked with darker blue.
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’
cuneata: From the Latin cuneum ‘wedge’, meaning wedge-shaped
In the past, South Island and Stewart Island plants were known as Coprosma astonii, but they are not specifically distinct from those further south.
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. 573 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.
Wilson, H.D., & Galloway, T. 1993: Small-leaved shrubs of New Zealand. Manuka Press. 119 pp.