Vascular – Native
2n = 40
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
Endemic. North, South and Stewart Islands
Lowland to montane (up to 1200 m a.s.l.). Usually in shrubland, often dominated by kahikatoa (Leptospermum scoparium J.R.Forst. et G.Forst.) or members of the manuka (Kunzea ericoides (A.Rich.) Joy Thomps.) complex. Also commonly seen within pine plantations and growing amongst Spanish heather (Erica lusitanica Ruldophi).
Terrestrial, saprophytic, deciduous, fleshy, perennial herb lacking chlorophyll. Rhizome mycorrhizal, tuberous, rather swollen, short-lived, extensively branched, individual sections up to 40 x 10 mm, dull pale brown to brownish-black, sparsely clad in chartaceous scales, especially toward the active apex. Plant at flowering up to 300 mm tall. Stem 1.5-2 mm diameter, dark brown to brown-black, slender, rather brittle when fresh. Scale leaves chartaceous, few, small and widely spaced. Flowers up to 10, brownish-black, usually cleistogamous, unscented, erect to spreading, tubular, sparsely tuberculate toward base, tubercules paler in colour. Perianth 6-10 x 2-4 mm, lobes slightly thickened toward margins. Lateral sepals fused slightly above the gibbous base otherwise with their margins lying close together. Labellum 2.5-4 x 1.0-2.0 mm, white, narrow-oblong, membranous, not irritable, completely enclosed within floral tube (apex just visible in the open flowers) and mostly fused to it, thickened distally, margins narrow, slightly undulose, bearing two long median, cristate, pinkish white calli, apex yellow. Column very short, wing a minute, erect, process; anther terminal, erect and bending forwards, short, ellipsoid, operculate, filament scarcely pleated at the back, pollen breaking into angular granules; stigma basal, immediately below anther, ellipsoid, hollow; rostellum flap-like, positioned under anther.
Easily distinguished from the other New Zealand Gastrodia species by its much smaller size (upto 300 mm long), and fewer flowered (< 10), much narrower, smaller, mostly blackish-brown, tubular flowers that scarcely open (if at all). The perianth lobes are internally white, and the labellum distinctly yellow-tipped.
November - March
January - April
Minute seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
A saprophytic species which should not be removed from the wild. Difficult to grow.
gastrodia: Belly tooth (flower centre)
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970)
References and further reading
NZPCN Key to Gastrodia prepared by Jeremy Rolfe (pdf, 1.2Mb)
Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. II. Government Printer, 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