Lepidium sisymbrioides Hook.f. subsp. sisymbrioides, Lepidium kawarau Petrie. Lepidium sisymbrioides subsp. ovatum Thell., L. kawarau var. dubium Kirk
Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
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.
2n = 56
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 Critical
Previous conservation statuses
2017 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: DP
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered | Qualifiers: DP
2009 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered | Qualifiers: DP, Sp
2004 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered
Endemic to South Island: North and Central Otago. Known in north Otago from S side of upper Waitaki, and from Central Otago near Falls Dam in upper Manuherika Gorge and from the Kawarau Gorge near Cromwell.
Schist and limestone outcrops and cliff faces. Also on sparsely vegetated clay pan and salt licks overlying limestone talus and semi-saline soils.
Perennial dioecious herb, with up to 15 compact, leafy rosettes. Rootstock deep rooted, up to 20 mm diam. near crown; stems spreading to erect, up to 25 mm long and 6.0 mm wide. Basal and lower stem leaves persistent, pinnatifid, pinnate, to bipinnatifid, narrow-oblong to oblong, up to 120(–190) mm long, green or green-brown, central part of lamina 1.0–3.4 mm wide; pinnae in 6–25 pairs, linear to lanceolate, usually recurved, with 1–6 secondary pinnae, terminal pinnae 7.8–30.0 × 0.9–2.9 mm, lateral pinnae 8.0–28.9 x 0.8–2.7 mm. Middle stem leaves similar, often becoming shallowly pinnatifid, serrate, or entire. Cauline leaves 8.3–25.6 x 1.6–6.2 mm, with up to 8 narrow or small lobes, or entire. Inflorescences terminal, 2–40 cm long, 1.0–5.6 mm diam. at base, usually ascending or erect, sometimes spreading, with up to 12 lateral branches, glabrous to sparsely hairy; pedicels 2.7– 6.4 mm long, 0.25–0.35 mm wide, slightly recurved, adaxial surface glabrous to moderately hairy, abaxial surface glabrous. Flowers up to 4 mm wide. Sepals 0.7–1.0 x 0.6–1.6 mm, green to maroon, glabrous to sparsely hairy, sometimes moderately hairy, margins scarious, apex obtuse. Petals present or absent, when present spreading and clawed, white, limb obovate, apex obtuse to emarginate; males: 1.5–2.2 mm long; females 1.2–1.5 mm long. Female flowers: ovary 1.0–2.7 x 0.8–1.9 mm, ovate, orbicular, to rhomboid, glabrous to sparsely hairy, sometimes moderately hairy; style 0.1–1.1 mm long; stigma 0.2–0.4 mm wide; 4–7 staminodes, 0.6–1.4 mm long. Male flowers: 4–6 stamens, 1.6–3.0 mm long, white; anthers 0.3–0.4 mm long, white or maroon; ovary rudimentary, 0.2–0.9 x 0.3–0.9 mm. Nectaries 0.2–0.6 mm long, oblong, green to green-red. Siliques 3.5–5.0 x 1.9–4.6 mm, usually ovate to rhomboid, sometimes orbicular, suture usually maroon, apex emarginate to retuse, style base often persistent. Seed usually obovate, rarely obovate-oblong, straighter along one margin, compressed but with broad rounded margins, 1.5–2.5 mm long, not winged; both surfaces with a distinct groove from hilum at base towards apex, and the seed folded around it; apex broad and rounded; base cuneate or slightly rounded. Testa dull, orange or orange-brown to dark henna, with a fine reticulum of very thick walled cells.
Distinguished from L. solandri by longer, narrower cauline leaves, longer terminal and primary pinnae with more frequent secondary lobing; less hairy sepals and ovaries; narrower ovaries; shorter stamen filaments; and ecology.
December to March
Mucilaginous seeds are dispersed by attachment and possibly wind and water (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from fresh seed. Dislikes excessive moisture and humidity.
Less than 800 plants are known in the wild. Few sites on protected land. At all sites threatened by weed competition, animal browsing, and for most sites changes in land-use management.
lepidium: Scale-shaped (pods)
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
One of only two dioecious Lepidiuim taxa in the world.
Description from Heenan, P.B.; Mitchell, A.D.; McLenachan, P.A.; Lockhart, P.J.; de Lange, P.J. 2007: Natural variation and conservation of Lepidium sisymbrioides Hook.f. and L. solandri Kirk (Brassicaceae) in South Island, New Zealand, based on morphological and DNA sequence data. New Zealand Journal of Botany 45: 237-264.
References and further reading
Heenan, P.B.; Mitchell, A.D.; McLenachan, P.A.; Lockhart, P.J.; de Lange, P.J. 2007: Natural variation and conservation of Lepidium sisymbrioides Hook.f. and L. solandri Kirk (Brassicaceae) in South Island, New Zealand, based on morphological and DNA sequence data. New Zealand Journal of Botany 45: 237-264.
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): Lepidium sisymbrioides Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/lepidium-sisymbrioides/ (Date website was queried)