Myosotis spathulata var. radicata L.B.Moore, Myosotis orbiculata G.Simpson
Vascular – Native
Dicotyledonous Herbs 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 = 46
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 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP, EF, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP
2004 | Sparse
Endemic. North, South and Chatham Islands.
Coastal to subalpine (0-1300 m a.s.l.). Usually on or near rock outcrops, under rock overhangs, on ledges or amongst rubble in forest or shrubland. Sometimes found on clay banks or open ground under dense forest, along track margins, or in alluvial shrubland. Very rarely found as an urban weed in shaded pavement or in shaded sites amongst mosses within excessively mowed lawns.
Mostly decumbent, widely spreading, perennial herb with adventitious roots on lateral branches; these often present to apices unless laterals are ascending. Petioles slender, 10-15 x 1-2 mm wide, purple-black to green, finely to conspicuously hispid to silky hairy. Rosette leaves 15-40 x 5-20 mm, dark green to yellow-green, sometimes with purple-red margins, orbicular, broadly ovate to broadly elliptic, apex retuse, mucronate, mucro 0.1-0.3 mm long; hairs on upper lamina surface short to long, straight, more or less appressed, not crowded, on lower surface similar but erect. Lateral branches 50-600 mm long, usually decumbent, sometimes scending at apices, often heavily branched, sometimes bearing subsidiary rosettes subtending flowers; frequently rooting at leaf junctions; internodes equal to or greater than leaves; cauline leaves shortly petiolate, 5-20 x 5-20 mm, orbicular to broadly elliptic, hairs as for rosette-leaves. Flowers solitary in leaf axils, sometimes up to 15 in sequence along lateral branchlets, pedicels 0.5-6 mm long in fruit. Calyx 1-3 mm, lobed almost to base, lobes narrow, acute, spreading widely in fruit; hairs spreading, scattered over lobes and base, of varying sizes, the largest more or less hooked. Corolla white 1-4 mm diameter, tube cylindric, lobes spreading to patent, never flat; filaments fixed at level of scales, anthers position 1/2 up lobes, anthers < 1 mm long, yellow; style up to 3 mm long; stigma clavate. Nutlet 1-1.5 x 0.6-1 mm, black to grey-black, ovate, apex obtuse, base rounded.
Closest to M. matthewsii which as Moore defined it is endemic to the far north of New Zealand. Both species have an almost flat, widely creeping growth habit, though M. matthewsii tends to be more erect and in most populations lacks the adventitious roots seen in most M. spatulata plants. The stem hairs of M. spatulata are slightly spreading to distinctly shaggy, the calyx hairs are rarely uniform in size and the largest are usually hooked or nearly so, in most M. spatulata populations the flowers have narrow corollas, short stamens (often nearly included within the corolla tube) and an clavate stigma, while M. matthewsii has short and closely appressed stem hairs, uniformly short and straight calyx hair, and broadly open corollas with distinctly exserted stamens and a capitate stigma. Often confused with M. tenericaulis (see notes under that species).
September - March
September - May
Easily grown from fresh seed. One of the few indigenous Myosotis that seeds freely and self-establishes in most garden situations. This species thrives in poorly drained, to well drained, shaded sites. Although easily grown it is unlikely to prove popular in cultivation because it has, by and large, rather small inconspicuous flowers. Some selection of the larger flowered forms may improve its popularity in cultivation.
Widespread but never common at any particular location (sometimes it is known from just one rock ledge or overhang for an entire district). Despite its natural scarcity it seems quite able to cope with weed invasions, partly because it can tolerate extreme heavy shade and a range of soil/substrate moisture regimes from drought prone to saturated.
spatulata: Like a flattened spoon
The relationship of Myosotis spatulata and M. matthewsii needs further critical assessment. Myosotis spatulata var. radicata is here regarded as part of the range of variation seen in M. spatulata - which as currently circumscribed is a very variable species.
Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 1 February 2008. Description based on Allan (1961).
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Goverment Printer, Wellington.
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Myosotis spatulata Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/myosotis-spatulata/ (Date website was queried)