None (first described in 1998)
Vascular – Native
2n = 56
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, RR, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: RR, Sp
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP
2004 | Range Restricted
Endemic. New Zealand: North Island (eastern and inland on Raukumara Range (Mt Hikurangi, Mt Wharekia), Maungaharuru Range, and Huiarau Range (Mt Maunga-pohatu)).
Montane to alpine. Usually rupestral on limestone cliffs, talus and rocks, and in associated tussock grasslands.
Short, tufted to tall stoloniferous grass; innovations extravaginal; long shoots bearing inflorescences of small panicles of few broad dark violet suffused usually patent spikelets on short prostrate to ascending culms above the shorter leaves. Leaf-sheath 20–80 mm, glabrous, striate, much wider than leaf-blade, brown and fibrous below, margins membranous; apical auricles 0.3–0.4 mm, rounded, ciliate. Ligule as for auricles. Leaf-blade 30–120 x 0.6–1.0 mm diameter; ± hexagonal, ribs evident or folded, glabrous, glaucous, upper surface and on margins covered in short antrorse hairs. Culm 40–500 mm, shoots swollen, erect or erect-ascending, usually > leaf-blades; nodes visible, internodes glabrous. Panicle 20–100 mm, with 4–7 nodes, 5–20 spikelets; branches erect or weakly spreading, usually solitary, basal branch 20–50 mm of 1–4 spikelets, uppermost 4–5 spikelets solitary on short pedicels; rachis mostly glabrous and frequently tortuous below, branches and pedicels usually prickle-toothed. Spikelets 8–12 x 4–7 mm, of 4–10 florets, glaucous, dull violet suffused, imbricate, becoming evidently patent at anthesis and up to 10 mm wide. Glumes unequal, keeled, narrowing to become acute or acuminate, smooth but occasionally prickle-toothed on keels, apex with long cilia, margins shortly or conspicuously long ciliate; lower 2.6–3-4 mm, l-nerved, upper 3–6 mm, 3-nerved, nerves sometimes evident. Lemma 5–7 mm, lobes 0 or very short, 5-nerved, slightly keeled above, inrolled, ± prickle-toothed throughout or short stiff hairy and prickle-toothed; awn 0–1 mm; apex of lowest lemma usually awnless and often long (0.3–0.5 mm) ciliate. Palea 5.5–7.0 mm, usually > lemma, apex deeply (0.3–1.0 mm) bifid, keels toothed in upper 1/3 occasionally more, interkeel hairs above, margins of flanks ciliate. Callus 0.2–0.3 mm, shortly stiffly bearded throughout; articulation oblique. Rachilla 0.75–1.50 mm, with short prickle-teeth or stiff hairs. Lodicules 1.0–1.4 mm, greater than or equal to ovary, lobed, glabrous. Anthers 2.0–3.5 mm. Ovary 1 mm, turbinate, hispid hairs at apex or glabrous; stigma-styles 1.75-3.00 mm. Seed 3 mm.
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
Florets are dispersed by wind, water and attachment (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Unknown. In Auckland plants were easily grown from rooted pieces but did not flower and appeared to dislike drought or humidity.
Range Restricted, naturally uncommon endemic known from a few widely scattered sites at high altitudes in the eastern North Island. The species is still very poorly known but is currently believed to be secure at all its known sites.
festuca: From the Latin festuca ‘stem’ or ‘blade of grass’
luciarum: From the Latinised plural of Lucy, named by Henry Connor after Lucy B. Moore and Lucy Cranwell. These two women did field work together collecting this species from Maungaphouatu and were fondly referred to as the ‘two Lucies’ by Henry Connor and Leonard Cockayne (Connor, 1998).
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Description modified from Edgar and Connor (2000)
References and further reading
Connor HE. 1998. Festuca (Poaceae: Gramineae) in New Zealand 1. Indigenous Taxa. New Zealand Journal of Botany 36: 329–367.
Edgar E, Connor HE. 2000. Flora of New Zealand. Vol. V. Grasses. Christchurch, Manaaki Whenua Press. 650 p.
Thorsen MJ, Dickinson KJM, Seddon PJ. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285–309.