None (first described in 2003)
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
A low wide-angled bushy shrub with small narrow leaves inhabiting open damp areas in the South Island. Twigs long slender and flexible, covered in short fuzz. Leaves curved sideways, very narrow, around 10mm long, with tiny clustered hairs on underside (lens needed), margin red. Fruit white with blue flecks.
Endemic. South and Stewart Islands.
Lowland to subalpine, favouring open swamps, mires, pakihi, and associated poorly drained soils, often in wetland systems dominated by red tussock (Chionochloa rubra) and/or wire rush (Empodisma minus).
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
FACW: Facultative Wetland
Usually is a hydrophyte but occasionally found in uplands (non-wetlands).
Semi-erect to prostrate, shortly rhizomatous, evergreen, dioecious, trailing shrub up to 0.5-1 x 2-6(-8) m. Main stems 2 or more, up to 40 mm diam., arising from a dense network of lateral roots, buried stems and short-rhizomes; branches numerous, wiry, slender, lianoid, long-trailing, arising at angles of > 45 deg, frequently rooting at nodes. Mature outer bark rust-brown or maroon-brown; inner bark lime-green to green yellow. Brachyblasts numerous, very leafy; internodes 0.1-0.2 mm, scarcely visible, obscured by leaves and stipules. Leaves opposite, linear-filiform, falcate, coriaceous; petioles scarcely differentiated from lamina; lamina often falcate, 0.2-0.5 mm long, crimson or dark green, (4-)10(-30) x (0.3-)0.6(-1.2) mm, margins involute, apex obtuse, base attenuate. Leaf colour usually wine-red, sometimes light green or dark green with red margins, adaxial surface bearing patent, deciduous eglandular hairs (40x magnification); leaf domatia common, 1-3 per leaf when present; midrib scarcely evident. Stipules 0.3-0.6 mm long, orange-brown or purple, shortly sheathing, sheath < 1/4 length of stipule and apical denticle, narrowly triangular, marginal fringe chartaceous, dark abaxial surface heavily invested in white hairs, 0.1-0.5 mm long; margin of stipules entire; denticles (3-)5(-6), glandular, black, deciduous; with 1-2 at apex of stipule, and (1-)3(-4) on stipule sheath. Plants unisexual; flowers subsessile, axillary, solitary or paired in uppermost leaves of previous growth flush. Pedicel minute. Male flowers mostly paired; calyx vestigial; corolla 5-6 mm long; tube 1.5-2 mm long, funnelform, pale yellow copiously flecked with red or pink; lobes 3-4, broadly elliptic or lanceolate, 4.5-5 x 1.6-1.8 mm, recurved; filaments 4-6 mm long, cream; anthers 3-4, 2.5-3 x 1-1.5 mm, oblong, apex acute or attenuated; pollen creamy yellow. Female flowers mostly solitary; calyx adnate to ovary, pale yellow flecked crimson or pink; lobes 4, 0.75- 1 mm long, obovate to oblanceolate, basal portion pale yellow flecked with red fading to pale yellow in upper portion; corolla tube 2-2.5 mm long, narrowly campanulate, yellow, striped and/or flecked red; lobes 3-4, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate 2.5-3 x 0.6 mm, strongly decurved; ovary ovoid, green, 0.8-1 x 0.6-0.8 mm; stigmas 2, 8- 14 mm long, terete, pale yellow to cream, densely papillose-pubescent. Drupe ellipsoid, 4-6 x 3-4 mm, white stippled with dark blue flecks (rarely entirely dark navy blue); calyx persistent. Pyrenes (1-)2, unequal; the larger (2.5-)3.0(-4.5) x 1.8-2.5 mm, ovoid to ellipsoid, plano-convex, apex obtuse, rarely acute; base obtuse to acute; operculum distinct, obovate-obtriangular.
Differs from the vegetatively similar C. intertexta by its long-trailing, subscandent, almost lianoid habit; longer branchlets; shortly sheathing conspicuously denticulate stipules; fleshy coriaceous, adaxially pubescent leaves with obtuse apices; and its restriction to wetlands. From other Coprosmas it differs by its long trailing, non-flexuous, wiry branchlets, stipule characters, and its habitat preference.
October - November
March - July
Fleshy drupes are dispersed by frugivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from fresh fruit and cuttings. An excellent wetland plant.
coprosma: From the Greek kopros ‘dung’ and osme ‘smell’, referring to the foul smell of the species, literally ‘dung smell’
Description based on Markey and de Lange (2003)
References and further reading
Markey, A.S.; de Lange, P.J. 2003: A new species of Coprosma Sect. Acerosae (Rubiaceae) endemic to the South and Stewart Islands of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 41: 459-473.
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): Coprosma elatirioides Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/coprosma-elatirioides/ (Date website was queried)