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 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
Erect grassy shrub with many erect twigs bearing long very narrow pointed leaves inhabiting the western South Island. Leaves 5-7.5cm long by 1.5-2mm wide, abruptly widening to a sheath that encloses the stem which has a finely hairy margin (lens needed). Flowers in small spike at tip of short branches.
Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (mostly westerly though extending east into Southland in the southern part of its range)
Dracophyllum oliveri is a species of open montane forest, woodland, shrubland or tussock grassland occurring on mountain slopes, gullies, plateaus and swampy depressions within an altitudinal range of 157–1,160 m. In the northern part of its range it is mostly found in dry wooded habitats but in the southern part of its range if virtually confined to bogs.
Erect to spreading single–stemmed small tree, 1–4 m tall. Bark on old branches dark grey to dark brown, finely fissured, young stems reddish brown. Leaves dimorphic. Juvenile leaves spirally arranged, spreading to recurved; lamina sheath 6.0–9.0 × 3.0–3.5 mm, yellowish to light green; shoulders rounded to truncate and margin ciliate in upper half; lamina linear–triangular, 75–85 × 1.3–1.5 mm; surfaces glabrous, margins serrulate with 60–80 teeth per 10 mm. Adult leaves crowded at tips of branches, spreading; lamina sheath 3.5–9.0 × 3.0–5.0 mm, membranous; shoulders rounded to auricled, margin ciliate or only the top half ciliate; lamina 30–75 × 0.6–2.0 mm, linear to linear–triangular; margins serrulate with 50–100 teeth per 10 mm; apex triquetrous and acute. Inflorescence a terminal raceme on lateral branchlets, shorter than leaves, erect, drooping later, dense, 17–24 mm long, oblong; inflorescence bract over-topping flowers, 0.6–20.0 × 0.8–1.2 mm, ovate–lanceolate; margins serrulate. Flowers 5–10, pedicellate; flower bract over-topping flowers, 3.0–5.5 × 2.0–3.5 mm, broadly ovate, with a tuft of scabrid hairs at base of adaxial surface; margins ciliate; pedicels straight, 0.3–0.5 mm. Sepals 3.0–6.0 × 1.3–5.5 mm, ovate to triangular, equaling corolla tube, adaxial surface with the top half pubescent; margins ciliate. Corolla white turning light yellow with age; corolla tube 3.0–6.0 × 2.0–2.5 mm, funnelform; corolla lobes spreading horizontally to reflexed, 1.5–2.0 × 1.5–2.0 mm, broadly triangular, shorter than corolla tube; apex inflexed, acute; adaxial surface papillate. Stamens inserted on corolla tube in upper third; filaments 0.5–0.7 mm long; anthers included, 0.6–0.8 mm long, oblong, light yellow. Ovary 1.4–1.5 × 1.3–1.5 mm, ovate, apex round; nectary scales rectangular, 1.0–1.3(–1.5) × 0.6–0.8 mm; apices retuse; style included, 1.3–1.7 mm long, glabrous; stigma five–lobed. Fruit 1.0–1.5 × 1.0–1.3 mm, obovoid, light to dark brown, apex round and glabrous. Seed 0.95–1.2 mm long, filiform, yellowish brown, with a slightly reticulated testa.
Dracophyllum oliveri is recognised by the leaves which have 60–80 teeth per 10 mm on the lamina margin; by the clustered 5–10–flowered racemes borne on short lateral branches; by the 5–6 mm long sepals that are longer than the corolla tube and which have light coloured margins. Dracophyllum oliveri is most similar to D. filifolium from which it differs in the leaf, inflorescence and flower characters given above.
November – March
January - June
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 oliveri Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/dracophyllum-oliveri/ (Date website was queried)