Vascular – Native
Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs
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 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered | Qualifiers: RR
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered | Qualifiers: CD, DP, RR
2004 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered
Shrub with pairs of large leathery leaves directly attached to the stem inhabiting upland Waima forest in Northland. Leaves 5-18cm long (depending on shading), with a prominent pale central vein on the upper surface. Small pale tooth on pale stem between leaf bases. Fruit orange, clustered on short stalks.
Endemic. North Island, Waima Forest.
A species of cloud forest which now primarily occurs on cliff faces. It is suspected that this habitat is probably not entirely natural; as the species is rather palatable and so the cliffs are probably acting as a refugia from goats and other browsing animals which frequent this species only known habitats.
Upright, sparingly branched dioecious shrub 1-2(-3) m tall. Stem internodes 10-20-100(-150) mm. Leaves subsessile. Petioles 0.5-1 mm long. Leaves 50 x 30 mm in the open, 180 x 70 mm in shade, dark green to yellow green, glossy, oblong to narrowly ovate-oblong, subcoriaceous to coriaceous, apex mucronate, deflexed forming a conspicuous “drip tip”. Leaf base cordate, with each lobe often extending sufficient to almost clasp the adjacent lobe. Domatia of the pit type, present in axils of main veins, but sparingly so in shade leaves. Internode stipules up to 7 mm long, stipular sheath thin, 1 mm long; apex, upper surface and marginal parts of under surface with glandular denticles, these numerous. Inflorescences lateral in 3-4 opposite pairs towards tips of main leafy stem, multi-branched. Flowers (3-)10-25(-30), aggregated into 1-4 clusters with 3-9(-13) flowers per cluster.
None. The distinctive, large, opposite, shortly petiolate (appearing almost sessile), ovate-oblong leaves and cordate to almost completely amplexicaul leaf bases are unique to this species.
April to August
October to March but some fruit may be present throughout the year
Fleshy drupes are dispersed by frugivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from semi-hardwood cuttings. Fresh seed germinates easily. In cultivation this species readily hybridizes with C. robusta Raoul, and C. grandifolia Hook.f. Hybrids with C. parviflora Hook.f. have also been reported, and it seems likely that given the opportunity this species will cross with any Coprosma species. This species does best in a semi-shaded, cool and/or damp site, and it should be planted in a free draining, humus enriched soil. Plants are prone to sudden collapse during periods of dry or humid weather.
Threatened by browsing animals such as goats, cattle, horses and possums. Since its discovery in 1986 many browsing animals have been eliminated from the area, but goats and especially possums remain a threat. One unexpected consequence of animal control has been the spectacular regeneration of Coprosma grandifolia which now grows admixed with C. waima. Because of this hybrids are now commonly seen between both species, and there are concerns that hybrids could threaten the long term viability of C. waima. Based on recent field surveys it is clear that very few mature specimens of C. waima remain in the wild, and most are found on the steep cliff faces on the southern side of Hauturu. It may move into a higher category of threat.
coprosma: From the Greek kopros ‘dung’ and osme ‘smell’, referring to the foul smell of the species, literally ‘dung smell’
Where To Buy
Occasionally sold in garden centres. Most plants sold are female, and these rarely set fruit in isolation. Hybrids are freely produced wherever other male Coprosma species are present. A small percentage of fruits formed by female plants are derived through apomixis.
Fact Sheet Prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 30 November 2005. Description modified from Druce (1989)
References and further reading
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
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Coprosma waima Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/coprosma-waima/ (Date website was queried)