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
Low growing sprawling shrub bearing blue-green narrow pointed hairy leaves clustered towards the tip of twigs inhabiting Northwest Nelson. Leaves of juvenile plants longer than adult, adult leaves 14-54mm rapidly tapering to sharp tip, covered in fine short hairs. Flowers in clusters of 3-5 at end of twigs.
Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (north–west Nelson)
Dracophyllum pubescens is a species of montane to subalpine areas where it grows in subalpine shrubland, on exposed cliff faces and bluffs, or in herbfield, fellfield or grassland.
Multi–stemmed shrub 0.5–0.8 m tall. Branches decumbent to prostrate. Bark on old branches grey to dark grey, deeply fissured, young stems reddish brown. Leaves juvenile and adult, glaucous. Juvenile leaves spirally arranged along branches, spreading; lamina sheath 10–13 × 6–8 mm; shoulders rounded with margin ciliate in upper half; lamina 60–80 × 5–7 mm, linear–triangular to lanceolate, surfaces pubescent; margins serrulate with 60–70 obscured teeth per 10 mm. Adult leaves crowded at tips of branches, spreading, glaucous; lamina sheath 3.3–7.0 × 3.5–6.0 mm, striate, shoulders rounded to truncate and margins membranous, ciliate; lamina 14–65 × 2–6 mm, linear–triangular to lanceolate, adaxial surface densely pubescent to tomentose; abaxial surface sparsely pubescent; prominently striated; margins ciliate with 80–100 obscure teeth per 10 mm. Inflorescence a terminal spike on lateral branchlets; shorter than leaves, erect, lax, 15–17 mm long, oblong; inflorescence bract over-topping flowers, 7.4–21.8 × 1.6–2.5 mm, glaucous, ovate–lanceolate at base, pubescent, margin ciliate. Flowers 3–5, sessile; flower bract shorter than or equaling flower length, 9.5–13.0 × 1.0–2.5 mm, ovate–lanceolate, adaxial surface pubescent; abaxial surface with sparse scabrid hairs; margin ciliate. Sepals 5.0–5.5 × 1.3–2.0 mm, ovate–lanceolate to ovate, shorter than corolla tube, surfaces glabrous on the top half, pubescent on adaxial surface; margin ciliate. Corolla white; corolla tube 5.0–6.0 × 1.6–2.0 mm, cylindrical; corolla lobes spreading horizontally to reflexed, 1.5–2.0 × 1.5–2.0 mm long, triangular,shorter than corolla tube, apices inflexed, acute; adaxial surface papillate. Stamens inserted on corolla tube in the upper third, filament 0.5–0.8 mm long; anthers included, 0.8–1.0 mm, rectangular, light yellow. Ovary oblong, 1.4–1.5 mm long and wide, glabrous, apex truncate; nectary scales separate, 0.8–1.0 × 0.7–1.0 mm, rectangular, apices irregularly toothed; style included, glabrous, 1.5–2.0 mm long; stigma capitate. Fruit 1.5–2.0 × 1.5–2.0 mm, light brown, obovoid; apex truncate, glabrous. Seeds 0.7–1.0 mm long, brown, filiform, testa weakly and finely reticulate.
Dracophyllum pubescens is recognised by the grey, broadly fissured bark, dimorphic foliage (i.e. with distinct juvenile and adult foliage); by the glaucous, broad, pubescent leaves and by the few–flowered 1–4 racemes. The sepals of D. pubescens are 5.0–5.5 mm long, abaxially pubescent, while the corolla tube is 5–6 mm long. Of the other Dracophyllum species it is most similar to D. kirkii from which it differs by the distinctively pubescent leaves, and 3–5-flowered racemes (the flowers of D. kirkii are by contrast always solitary).
December – March
February - June
Minute seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild. Don’t be tempted - take photographs instead!
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 (4 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
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 pubescens Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/dracophyllum-pubescens/ (Date website was queried)