None (described in 1952)
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.
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 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: RR
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: RR
2004 | Range Restricted
Prostrate shrub, usually of open infertile areas amongst sandstone, granite or exposed coal measures, Branches bearing shortly erect leaves, these tightly clasping the stem, and with somewhat sharply rounded apices. Flowers white, solitary and almost obscured by the syrrounding sepals
Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (North-West Nelson, westerly from Karamea to near Westport (common in the Paparoa Ranges and on the Denniston Plateau)
Montane to subalpine on mountain summits, ridgelines, terraces and plateau in shrubland, herbfield, tussock grassland or grassland overlying infertile soils derived from sandstone, conglomerate or granite. Often on slate or coal measures.
Scrambling sub–shrub or low shrub, 0.3–0.5 m tall. Branches spreading, decumbent or prostrate. Bark on old branches dark grey to brown, deeply fissured, young stems grey to reddish brown. Leaves spirally along branches, imbricate, erect and appressed to stem, old leaves present; lamina sheath 2–5 × 2–4 mm, olive green, membranous, tapering and margin ciliate; lamina 6–22 × 0.7–1.0 mm, linear, olive green, adaxial surface flat, abaxial surface rounded with a keeled apex, surfaces glabrous with a tuft of scabrid hairs at the base on adaxial surface, slightly striated; margins serrulate with 25–30 teeth per 10 mm; apex obtuse to acute. Inflorescence a solitary terminal flower on lateral branchlets, sessile, shorter than leaves, erect, mostly hidden by leaves; flower bract 3.5–7.0 × 2–3 mm, shorter than to equaling flower, foliose, coriaceous to rigid and hard, broadly ovate at base, surfaces glabrous with a tuft of scabrid hairs at base of adaxial surface, margins serrulate, apex obtuse to acute. Sepals 3.5–5.7 × 1.5–2.0 mm, lanceolate, equaling corolla tube, top half pubescent on adaxial surface; margins toothed; apex subacute to obtuse. Corolla white; corolla tube 3.5–5.0 × 1.0–1.5 mm, cylindrical; corolla lobes shorter than corolla tube, 1.5–2.0 × 1.0–1.3 mm, ovate–triangular to triangular; spreading horizontally to reflexed, apical ridge present, apices acute; adaxial surface papillate. Stamens inserted on corolla tube in upper third, filaments 0.5–0.55 mm long; anthers included, rectangular, light yellow, 1 mm long. Ovary 1–2 × 1.0–1.4 mm, obovate, apex truncate; nectary scales 0.9–1.0 × 0.6 – 0.8 mm, rectangular, apices retuse to irregularly toothed; style included, 1.5–1.55 mm long, glabrous, lengthening in fruit; stigma five–lobed. Fruit sessile, 1.3–2.0 × 1–2 mm, light brown, depressed–obovoid to obovoid, apex truncate, glabrous. Seeds 0.45–0.5 mm long, ovoid,light brown, testa slightly reticulate.
Dracophyllum densum is recognised by its prostrate habit; dark grey deeply fissured bark; long persistent foliage; by the erect leaves clasping the stem; leaf apices obtusely acute; by the solitary flowers with subacute to obtuse sepals which equal the corolla tube length; and by and the short capsule which is widest at the apex. Dracophyllum densum is most similar to D. politum from which it differs the presence of a tuft of scabird hairs on the leaf lamina and by the leaf lamina marginal teeth numbering 25-30 rather than 90-100 in D. politum. The flowers of D. densum have bracts 3.5–7.0 × 2.0–3.0 mm cf. 2.0–3.0 × 0.7–0.8 mm in D. politum, and the bract margins in D. densum are ciliate rather than serrulate. In Dracophyllum densum the sepals equal the length of the corolla tube, while they are longer than the corolla tube in D. politum. In D. densum the apex of the corolla lobe is acute rather than obtuse, while the ovary apex is truncate rather than rounded. The surface of the seed of D. densum is also weakly reticulate rather than prominently so like which is typical of D. politum. Venter (2009) further notes that epiuticular wax platelets are absent in D. politum but conspicuous and prominent in D. densum
January - April
March - June
Difficult - should not be removed from the wild
Locally abundant in the places it has been reported from, but some populations overlying coal measures are threatened by coal mining and others potentially so.
dracophyllum: Dragon leaf, from its likeness to the dragon tree of the Canary Islands
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (9 September 2012). Description adapted from Venter (2009)
References and further reading
Venter, S. 2009: A taxonomic revision of the genus Dracophyllum Labill. (Ericaceae). Unpublished Phd Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington.
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Dracophyllum densum Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/dracophyllum-densum/ (Date website was queried)