None - first described in 2014
Vascular – Native
Trees & Shrubs - Dicotyledons
2n = 22
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.
2018 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable
Previous conservation statuses
2017 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable | Qualifiers: DP, De
2013 | Not Threatened
Small columnar tree of mountains and intermontane basins of the North and South Islands. Bark copiously flaking, and often massing at trunk base in piles like wood shavings. Branches obliquely fastigiate ascending, bearing masses of small dark green to bronze green leaves and clusters of small white flowers. Branchlets finely, copiously covered in short, erect hairs. Leaves to 6.3 mm long, coriaceous. Flowers borne in dense ‘corymbiform’ clusters, white with a red centre. Fruit a small dry capsule 1.2–3.0 × 1.2–3.4 mm.
Endemic. New Zealand. North and South Islands from Central Volcanic Plateau south through central North Island and east to the southern Wairarapa, thence easterly from Marlborough to Central Otago
Kunzea serotina, in the North Island part of its range is mostly a montane to subalpine species, extending into lowland sites in forest flats and other places where temperature inversions occur. In the South Island it is more wide ranging but still most confined to mountain areas and intermontane basins.
Erect, columnar to tightly pyramidal, fastigiate, densely branched shrubs or trees 3–20 × 2–4 m developing with time into less densely branched, open pyramidal crowns. Trunk usually single, very rarely 2–3 arising from base, 0.10–0.86 m d.b.h., with basal portion of trunk covered in numerous, curled, chartaceous bark remnants. Bark chartaceous, greyish-white to pinkish-white, heavily cracked, often crumpled, detaching as inrolled, curled, sinuous, irregular pieces, pieces often congregating in branch forks and forming deep drifts at trunk base. Branches numerous arising at or near trunk base; short and stout, obliquely ascending, fastigiate; branchlets numerous, very leafy; indumentum copious, sericeous; persistent, divergent 0.05–0.08 µm, apices curved or slightly curled. Leaves heterophyllous; seedling, subadult leaves and that of reversion shoots, spreading to patent; lamina 0.8–7.8 × 0.6–1.2 mm, red-green, pale green suffused with red, rarely bright green, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate; flat or involute, apex acute to obtuse, finely cuspidate; adult leaves, usually densely aggregated along brachyblasts, lamina 2.0–6.3 × 0.8–1.8 mm, dark glossy green or bronze-green, linear-oblanceolate, oblanceolate to obovate; strongly recurved from about ½ of total length, apex initially acute to subacute, maturing obtuse to rounded, often cuspidate; base attenuate; glandular punctate, glabrous, very rarely with fine antrorse hairs near base; lamina margin sparsely hairy, usually in one interrupted row failing well short of leaf apex. Inflorescence a compact 1–12-flowered corymbiform botryum up to 25 mm long, borne on alternate, distinctly spiralled, densely leafy, brachyblasts up to 15 mm long. Pherophylls deciduous, mostly foliose, 0.9–2.5 mm long, green to bronze-green, spathulate, spathulate-orbicular, rarely pandurate or lanceolate, margins and apex finely ciliate. Flower buds clavate to pyriform, apex flat to weakly domed prior to bud burst, calyx valves not or scarcely meeting. Fresh flowers 2.8–8.8 mm diam. Hypanthium 1.6–3.4 × 1.5–3.8 mm, dark green or red-green, drying brown-green to red-brown; urceolate to campanulate terminating in a distinctly thicker rim bearing five persistent calyx lobes; copiously dotted with red oil glands, finely puberulent to ± glabrescent; hairs if present short, divergent. Calyx lobes 5, upright, 0.8–1.2 × 0.7–1.2 mm, persistent, ovate to broadly ovate, central portion of lobe pale green or yellow-green, with margins usually cream to pale pink, surface glandular punctate, oil glands usually pink in exposed situations otherwise ± colourless, glabrous except ciliate margins. Receptacle pink at anthesis, darkening to dark crimson magenta after fertilisation. Petals 5–6, 1.4–2.0 × 1.2–2.0 mm, white, sometimes basally flushed pink, narrowly orbicular to broadly ovate or cuneate, apex obtuse to rounded, margins ± frayed to finely and irregularly toothed, oil glands yellow when fresh, when dried very pale yellow to colourless. Stamens 20–38 in 1–2 weakly defined whorls, arising from receptacular rim, filaments white occasionally tinged rose-pink toward base. Anthers dorsifixed, 0.04–0.06 × 0.02–0.04 mm, testiculate to ellipsoid. Pollen white. Anther connective gland prominent, orange often flushed rose when fresh, drying dark orange-brown or purple, spheroidal, distinctly papillate. Ovary 3–5 locular, each with 10–23 ovules in two rows on each placental lobe. Style 0.6–1.2 mm long, white; stigma capitate, scarcely wider than style, usually flat to very weakly domed, greenish-white, cream or pale pink, surface finely papillate. Fruits rarely persistent 1.2–3.0 × 1.2–3.4 mm, light brown to grey, finely hairy, urceolate to shortly-campanulate, rarely cupular, splits concealed by dried, suberect to erect, free portion of hypanthium and incurved calyx lobes. Seeds 0.60–1.00 × 0.48–0.60 mm, narrowly oblong, oblong, oblong-obovate, orange-brown to dark brown, surface coarsely reticulate.
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
Kunzea serotina is frequently sympatric with Kunzea robusta, and to a lesser extent K. ericoides and K. tenuicaulis. Kunzea serotina is distinguished from these species by the obliquely ascending, fastigiate branches, divergent branchlet hairs mostly divergent 0.03–0.12 mm long; pherophylls foliose, mostly spathulate (sometimes pandurate), and by the flower petals which have yellow oil glands when fresh or dry.
November - May
January - December
Easily grown from fresh seed. Can be grown with difficulty from semi-hard and hardwood cuttings. Although Kunzea serotina will flourish in any well drained soil, planted in full sun it does best in cooler climates.
Myrtle Rust (Austropuccinia psidii) is an invasive fungus which threatens native myrtle species - learn more myrtlerust.org.nz
kunzea: Named after Gustav Kunze (4 October 1793, Leipzig -30 April 1851), 19th century German botanist from Leipzig who was a German professor of zoology, an entomologist with an interest mainly in ferns and orchids
serotina: Late flowering
Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 25 August 2014. Description modified from de Lange (2014).
References and further reading
de Lange, P.J. 2014: A revision of the New Zealand Kunzea ericoides (Myrtaceae) complex. Phytokeys 40: 185p doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.40.7973.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Kunzea serotina Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/kunzea-serotina/ (Date website was queried)