swamp coprosma, hukihuki
Coprosma tenuicaulis var. major Cheeseman
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 conservation 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). 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.
2012 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Erect bushy shrub with long thin twigs bearing pairs of thin rounded leaves on short flattened leaf stalks inhabiting wetland sites. Leaves mottled, 8-13mm long. Small tuft of longer hairs on hairy stem between leaf bases (sometimes a small dark tooth also present). Skin of fruit dark reddish-black to black, flesh dark purple.
Endemic. North and South Islands from Kaitaia to about Okarito
Lowland (rarely montane) in swamps and boggy ground, poorly drained shrubland and riparian forest.
Shrub up to c.3 m tall; branches slender, filiramulate, subdivaricate, usually interlacing; branchlets slender, pubescent. Leaves on more or less winged, slender, pubescent petioles 3-5 mm long. Stipules small, triangular, subacute, more or less pubescent, ciliate, terminal tuft consipicuous. Lamina subcoricaeous, glabrous, orbicular-ovate, spathulate, obtuse, minutely apiculate, more or less 8-13 × 8-10 mm. Reticulations of veins evident on both surfaces. Male flowers in fascicles of 3-6; calyx 0; corolla funnelform, lobes more or less = tube, ovate, acute. Female flower solitary or in axillary clusters of 2-4 along short branchlets; calyx-teeth minute; corolla funnelform, lobes ovate, acute, = or > tube. Drupe black, globose, 3-4 mm diameter.
Easily recognised by the filiramulate, subdivaricating growth habit, and leaves which have darker margins and a lighter pigmented central blotch on the upper leaf surface. It is perhaps most likely to be confused with Coprosma virescens which has a superficially similar leaf shape but differs by its preference for better drained soils, greenish trunk, smaller leaves (5-9 x 3-6 mm cf. 8-13 x 9-10 mm in C. tenuicaulis), glabrous to glabrescent rather than pubescent branchlets, and yellowish-white, oblong rather than dark reddish-black to black, globose drupes
July - October
March - May
Fleshy drupes are dispersed by frugivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easy from fresh seed and semi-hardwood cuttings. An attractive shrub to small tree that does well in dappled light. Although it flourishes in swamps it is easily grown in poorly draining or free draining soils, in full sun or partial shade.
coprosma: From the Greek kopros ‘dung’ and osme ‘smell’, referring to the foul smell of the species, literally ‘dung smell’
tenuicaulis: Thin stalk
Description adapted from: Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Government Printer, Wellington.
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Government Printer, Wellington.
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