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 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Tightly packed low growing cushion of many small leaves with only the tips usually visible inhabiting mountain areas of the southern South Island. Leaves very small, 1-3mm long by
Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (from Mount Hercules southwards to the Princess Mountains
Dracophyllum muscoides is a plant of subalpine cushion herbfield, grassland to alpine bog, fellfield and boulder field growing at altitudes of 914–2,600 m.
Compact cushions, 15–50 mm tall. Branches erect stemmed and much–branched, closely packed together. Bark on old branches greyish brown, deeply fissured, young stems reddish brown. Leaves spiraling along branches, imbricate, appressed to stem, dry old leaves present; lamina sheath light green, 1.5–3.0 × 1.5–3.0 mm, tapering and margin membranous, ciliate. lamina coriaceous to rigid and hard, 1.0–3.0 × 0.3–0.8 mm, linear to linear–triangular, mid to olive green, margins serrulate with 5–10 teeth per 10 mm (only the front third of leaf with teeth); apex thickened, obtuse and keeled. Inflorescence a terminal, erect, sessile, solitary flower; shorter than the leaves. inflorescence bract shorter than flower, 3.3–3.5 × 1.5–2.0 mm, ovate–lanceolate; margins serrulate; apex obtuse. Sepals 1.5–4.5 × 1.5–2.0 mm, ovate–lanceolate, equaling corolla tube; margins ciliate; apices subacute to obtuse. Corolla white; corolla tube 2.0–2.5 × 1.5–3.5 mm, narrowly–campanulate, corolla lobes spreading horizontally, 1.0–1.5 × 1.0–1.5 mm, ovate–triangular, shorter than corolla tube, apices obtuse; apical ridge present; inflexed for the entire length; surfaces glabrous. Stamens inserted on corolla tube in the upper third, filaments 0.2–0.5 mm long; anthers included, 0.8–1.0 mm long, oblong, initially pink turning light yellow and. Ovary ovate, 1.4–1.5 × 1.3–1.4 mm, apex round; nectary scales 0.5–0.9 × 0.5–0.7 mm, rectangular, apices retuse to irregularly toothed; style included, 0.8–1.0 mm long, glabrous, not lengthening in fruit; stigma five–lobed. Fruit 1.0–1.1 × 0.8–1.0 mm, depressed–globose, light brown apex truncate, glabrous. Seeds 0.5–0.6 mm long, ovoid, yellowish brown, testa slightly reticulate.
Dracophyllum muscoides is recognised by the cushion growth habit; closely imbricating leaves (these 1.0–3.0 × 0.3-0.8 mm), which widen suddenly into a broad sheath 1.5–3.0 mm long and wide; by the solitary flowers situated at the apices of the stems, and whose sepals are 2.5–4.5 mm long and whose corolla tube is 2.0–2.5 mm long. Dracophyllum muscoides is most similar to Dracophyllum prostratum from which it differs by the many erect-stemmed branches, deeply fissured bark and fewer (5–10 compared to 10–40) teeth per 10 mm on lamina margin. The flowers are also shorter than the leaves, with the sepals equaling the corolla tube and the corolla tube shorter (2.0–2.5 mm compared to 3.0–4.5 mm in D. prostratum) and narrowly campanulate. The corolla lobes of D. muscoides are mostly horizontal and the ovary ovate and wider (1.3–1.4 mm compared to 1.0–1.5 mm in D. prostratum).
December – May
February - August
Minute seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Difficult - should not be removed from the wild
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 (6 June 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.
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): Dracophyllum muscoides Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/dracophyllum-muscoides/ (Date website was queried)