Dracophyllum longifolium var. septentrionale
Ruahine grass tree
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.
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 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP, RR
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP, RR
2009 | Data Deficient
2004 | Not Threatened
Erect grassy shrub with light grey bark and many erect twigs bearing long very narrow pointed leaves inhabiting the southern North Island. Leaves 8-13cm long by 1-2.5mm wide, abruptly widening to a sheath that encloses the stem which has a finely hairy margin (lens needed), outer leaf surface rough.
Endemic. New Zealand: North Island (southern Ruahine Ranges on and close to Mt Maharahara, and north-eastern Wairarapa Taipo). Venter (2009) ambiguously (i.e. he does not cite specimens) records Dracophyllym longifolium var. septentrionale from the upper Whanganui River, and from the “Flaggstaff Mountains”. On the basis of herbarum specimens it is also known from the north-eastern Wairarapa Taipo. Further survey, especially within the Ruahine Ranges would be useful.
Dracophyllum longifolium var. septentrionale prefers dense montane shrubland on ridge lines, summit crests and on cliff faces. It sometimes extends in forest where it grows in clearings
A multi–stemmed shrub or small tree, 1–2 m tall. Bark on old branches dark grey to greyish brown, smooth or finely fissured, young stems reddish brown. Leaves adult and juvenile. Juvenile leaves spirally arranged along branches, spreading; lamina sheath yellowish green, 11.0–16.0 × 6.0–7.6 mm, shoulders truncate and margin ciliate in upper half; lamina linear to linear–triangular, surfaces glabrous, 110–200 × 4–6 mm, margins serrulate with 50–60 teeth per 10 mm; adult leaves erect to spreading; lamina sheath 7.0–12.0 × 2.8–5.0 mm, striate, rounded to truncate and margin membranous with the top half ciliate; lamina linear to linear–triangular, 46.0–130.0 × 1.0–2.5 mm; adaxial surface rugose; margins serrulate with 50–60 teeth per 10 mm. Inflorescence a raceme near the apices of branches; shorter than leaves, erect, dense, 12–24 mm long, oblong; inflorescence bracts over-topping flowers, ovate–lanceolate, 28–37 × 0.6–0.7 mm, adaxial surfaces scabrid; margins serrulate, apices acuminate. Flowers 3–11, pedicellate; flower bracts caducous, over-topping flowers, coriaceous, 5.0–7.5 × 2.0–3.0 mm, broadly ovate, adaxial surfaces sericeous; margins ciliate; apices acute; pedicels straight, 0.6–1.5 mm long, glabrous. Sepals 3.5–5.0 × 1.3–2.0 mm, ovate–lanceolate, equaling corolla tube, adaxial surface pubescent in the top half; margins ciliate. Corolla white; corolla tube 3.5–4.0 × 1.5–2.0 mm, cylindrical; corolla lobes reflexed, 1.5–1.7 × 1.0–1.2 mm, ovate–triangular, shorter than corolla tube, apex subacute; surfaces glabrous. Stamens inserted onto corolla tube near the top, filaments 0.6–1.0 mm long; anthers included, 0.9–1.0 mm long, oblong, light yellow. Ovary 2.9–3.0 × 1.8–2.0 mm, obovate, apex round; nectary scales 1.5–1.6 × 0.7–0.8 mm, rectangular, apices retuse; style included, 1.3–1.5 mm long, glabrous; stigma five–lobed. Fruit pedicellate, 2.0–3.0 × 2.0–3.5 mm, obovoid, light brown, apex round, glabrous. Seeds 0.7–1.3 mm long, ovoid, cream coloured, testa slightly reticulate.
Allan (1961) included this plant within a broad circumscription of D. longifolium sens. lat. While Oliver (1952), considered it close to D. filifolium, noting that the racemes were very similar to that species but that the foliage was much wider. Venter (2009) notes that it is distinguished from all other Dracophyllum by the long and wide juvenile (110–200 × 4–6 mm) and adult (80.0–125.0 × 1.5–2.5 mm) leaves, rugose adaxial surface of the adult lamina, caducous flower bracts over-topping the flower with sericeous adaxial surfaces, short pedicels, sepals equaling the corolla tube and pubescent in the top half of the adaxial surface, stamens inserted onto the corolla tube near the top and the cream coloured ovoid seeds.
November – February
January - May
Difficult - should not be removed from the wild
Venter (pers. comm. 2001) has suggested that deer browse was severely inhibiting regeneration and may be killing mature trees but recent field work (Perrie & Shepherd 2009) did not see this. Perrie & Shepherd (2009) noted that Dracophyllym longifolium var. septentrionale was reasonably common at its type locality (Mt Maharahara, Ruahine Range), and that there this plant had a “good” population structure and was regenerating freely.
dracophyllum: Dragon leaf, from its likeness to the dragon tree of the Canary Islands
longifolium: Long leaved
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 13 June 2012. Description adapted from Venter (2009).
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Wellington, Government Printer.
Oliver, W.R.B. 1952. A revision of the genus Dracophyllum: (Supplement). Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 80: 1–17.
Perrie, L.; Shepherd, L. 2009: Dracophyllum longifolium var. septentrionale photographed on Mt Maharahara. Trilepidea 68: 3
Venter, S. 2009: A taxonomic revision of the genus Dracophyllum Labill. (Ericaceae). Unpublished Phd Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Dracophyllum longifolium var. septentrionale Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/dracophyllum-longifolium-var-septentrionale/ (Date website was queried)