None (first described in 1886)
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
Large shrub bearing pairs of mottled wavy leaves that taper to a narrow point. Twigs green flecked with red. Leaves 7-11cm with a thin dark-tipped and usually hair fringed sheath around stem at base of leaves. Fruit orange or red, in short clusters.
Endemic. North Islands from Mt Pirongia and East Cape south to the Tararua Ranges.
Lowland to montane forest especially on alluvium and other base-rich soils. In the northern part of its range it is exclusively montane
Rather slender shrub or tree up to c. 5 m tall, with stout glabrous ascending branches and branchlets. Leaves on slender pubescent petioles 10-25 mm long. Stipules broad-oblong, connate, obtuse, more or less ciliolate; denticle prominent, stout, acute to acuminate. Lamina membranous to thinly coriaceous, pubescent above on midrib, 70-110 × 30-45 mm, dull dark green, red-green or variously blotched, tinged or blemished with red, maroon or purple, ovate to oblong, acute, usually apiculate, rather abruptly narrowed into petiole; margins slightly wavy, sometimes crenulate. Reticulated veins fine, evident. Male flowers in clusters of 2-3 on short branchlets; calyx 0; corolla subcampanulate, lobes short, acute. Female flowers in clusters of opposite pairs, on short leafy branchlets; calyx-teeth short, ciliolate; corolla tubular, lobes short, acute. Drupe orange, ovoid, 7-8 mm long.
The allopatric sister species of the Raoul Island endemic Coprosma acutifolia from which it differs by its larger ( 70-110 × 30-45 mm), ovate to oblong, acute, usually apiculate leaves which are dull dark green, red-green or variously blotched, tinged or blemished with red, maroon or purple. The leaves of Coprosma acutifolia are 60-90 × 20-35 mm, yellow-green, often mottled with dark green, narrow-ovate, ovate, ovate-elliptic to lanceolate, acuminate. The peduncles of Coprosma tenuifolia are unbranched while those of C. acutrifolia are pedicellate (branched). The fruits of Coprosma acutifolia are oblong and orange red rather than ovoid and orange. Both species hybridise readily when grown together in cultivation.
November - January
March - May
Fleshy drupes are dispersed by frugivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).
An attractive shrub to small tree on account of its colourful foliage. It does well in a shaded situation planted in a permanently damp, free draining, fertile soil. Despite its attractive foliage Coprosma tenuifolia is rarely seen in cultivation.
coprosma: From the Greek kopros ‘dung’ and osme ‘smell’, referring to the foul smell of the species, literally ‘dung smell’
tenuifolia: Thin, slender leaves
Where To Buy
Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.
Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (10 January 2007): Description adapted from Allan (1961)
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
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Coprosma tenuifolia Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/coprosma-tenuifolia/ (Date website was queried)