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) – 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.
Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – an interim threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
- Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017 . 2018. 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. Department of Conservation. Source: NZTCS and licensed by DOC for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.
2017 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: Sp
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon
2004 | Not Threatened
Low-growing brownish spreading grassy shrub with short erect branches bearing very dense tufts of both alive and dead narrow pointed leaves mainly inhabiting upland Stewart Island (rare in Fiordland). Leaves hard, 19-32mm long by 0.8-1.5mm wide. Flowers mixed in with leaves, white, tubular.
Endemic. New Zealand: South (Fiordland National Park - scarce) and Stewart Islands. On Stewart Island restricted to the tops of Mt Anglem and Rakeahua
Montane to alpine. Usually colonising open sites on mountain slopes, ridges and plateau within subalpine shrubland, herbfield or grassland
Multi–stemmed shrub 0.3–0.5 m tall. Branches: bark on old branches dark grey, deeply fissured, young stems reddish brown. Leaves spirally arranged along branches, imbricate, appressed to stem, dry old leaves present; lamina sheath olive green to light brown, 4–7 × 3–5 mm, coriaceous, striate, shoulders rounded to truncate with margins membranous, ciliate or with only the top half ciliate; lamina rigid and hard, 19.0–32.0 × 0.8–1.5 mm, mid to olive green, linear to linear–subulate, adaxial surface flat, abaxial surface keeled, margins serrulate with 90–100 teeth per 10 mm, apex triquetrous. Inflorescence a few flowered spike near apices of branches; shorter than leaves, erect, lax, 12–20 mm long, oblong. Inflorescence bract over-topping flowers, foliose, coriaceous, 6.0–6.5 × 4–5 mm, linear, ovate–lanceolate at base, surfaces glabrous with a tuft of scabrid hairs at base of adaxial surface, margins ciliate. Flowers 3–6, sessile; flower bracts over-topping flowers, leaf like, linear, 6.0–6.5 × 4–5 mm, with a tuft of scabrid hairs at base of adaxial surface, margins ciliate. Sepals 4.2–4.5 × 1.5–2.0 mm, lanceolate to ovate–lanceolate, shorter to equaling corolla tube; margins ciliate. Corolla white; corolla tube 4.2–4.5 × 1.8–2.0 mm, cylindrical; corolla lobes reflexed, 1.9–2.0 × 1.4–1.5 mm, ovate–triangular to broadly triangular, shorter than corolla tube, apical ridge present, apices inflexed at tip, subacute; adaxial surface papillate. Stamens inserted on corolla tube near the top, filaments 0.2–0.5 mm long; anthers included, 0.8 mm long, oblong, light yellow. Ovary 1.9–2.0 × 1.8–2.0 mm, globose, apex round; nectary scales oblong, 1.0–1.2 × 0.8–1.0 mm, apices obtuse; style included, 0.8–1.0 mm long, glabrous; stigma five–lobed. Fruit light brown, 1.0–1.5 × 1.0–1.2 mm, obovoid, apex truncate, glabrous. Seeds 0.55–0.6 mm long, yellowish brown, ovoid, testa slightly reticulate.
Dracophyllum pearsonii is easily recognised by the closely imbricate strongly keeled leaves with triquetrous apices. Characteristically the leaves densely cover the branches and when dead they are long persistent. In this species the flowers are arranged in few–flowered (3-6-flowered) racemes near the ends of branches, also each petal is furnished with a prominent apical ridge on the upper surface.
December - February
February - April
Minute seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild.
Dracophyllum pearsonii is listed because it is a narrow range endemic virtually confined to Stewart island (it is scarce in its only known stations in Fiordland National Park). Despite its small area of occupancy it is otherwise believed secure and under no active threat.
dracophyllum: Dragon leaf, from its likeness to the dragon tree of the Canary Islands
pearsonii: After Pearson
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (16 April 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 pearsonii Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/dracophyllum-pearsonii/ (Date website was queried)