Myosurus minimus subsp. novae-zelandiae
New Zealand mousetail
Myosurus novae-zelandiae W.R.B.Oliv., M. minimus L. subsp. minimus
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 = 16
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.
2018 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered | Qualifiers: DP, EF, RR, Sp
2009 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: EF, Sp
2004 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered
Endemic to New Zealand, North and South Islands. Formerly reported from the Hawkes Bay to Cape Palliser and Island Bay near Wellington (places where it is now believed extinct). In the South Island it is known only from the eastern side, from Marlborough south to Lake Manapouri.
Lowland to upland. Damp and slightly salty depressions in pastures and short tussock grassland, on the margins of tarn and kettle holes, and in damp dune hollows, gravel flats and alluvium.
Spring to summer-green annual, forming tufts 10–80mm tall. Leaves 5–20, 10–35 × 1–2.5mm, basal, fleshy to succulent, exstipulate, linear to linear-spathulate, obtuse, margins entire, bright to dark green, yellow-green, red-green or red. Inflorescences scapigerous, scapes 1–8, 1-flowered, 10–80mm tall (including receptacle), erect to spreading, glabrous, fleshy, filiform, bright to dark green, yellow-green, red-green or red. Flowers greenish–yellow, apetalous. Sepals 5, minute, 0.5–0.8mm long, 3-nerved, ovate to oblanceolate, green to greenish-yellow or green-red, Stamens 5, filaments 0.3–0.5mm long, greenish-white. Receptacle 3–15mm long, elongating in fruit, oblong to oblong-linear, bearing numerous carpels. Styles 0.4–0.5mm long. Achenes 20–50 (or more), 0.9–1.6mm long, boat-shaped, body oblong to narrow-oblong, broader at apex, surface glabrous, dull, pale brown, yellow-brown to dark brown, beak 0.4mm long. Seed 0.55–0.90mm, narrowly elliptic to elliptic, surface finely rugulose, semi-glossy, brown to dark brown.
May be confused with Limosella lineata Glück from which it differs by its greenish-yellow rather than white, lilac to pink flowers and by the conspicuous, elongated receptacles which bear numerous carpels (rather than the solitary subglobose capsules produced by Limosella). It may also be confused with Plantago coronopus L., which differs from mousetail by its dark green to brown-green, usualy 1-4 lobed linear leaves, sparsely hairy leaves, and many flowered spikes.
August - November (- January)
September - February
A strict annual, easily grown from fresh seed. It does best in a small pot, partially submerged in water.
Mousetail is probably a biologically sparse entity. However, virtually all of its known habitats are now being invaded by faster growing, taller or turf forming, perennial weeds such as Plantago coronopus. These weed invasions appear to be accelerated by changes in the surrounding hydrology, caused in turn, by changes in land use. In particular, the conversion of upland mixed sheep/cattle and sheep farms to dairy farms, especially within Canterbury and Otago, has increased the need for ground water. Canalisation and the widespread use of bore water is now visibly reducing the number of ephemeral wetlands, kettle holes and tarns once frequented by mousetail and other marginal turf plants.
minimus: Smallest (rather a misnomer)
novae-zelandiae: Of New Zealand
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Fact Sheet prepared for the NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 14 April 2006. Description by P.J. de Lange and subsequently published in de Lange et al. (2010).
References and further reading
de Lange, P.J.; Heenan, P.B.; Norton, D.A.; Rolfe, J.R.; Sawyer, J.W.D. 2010: Threatened Plants of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.
Ogle, C.C. 1985. Mouse-tail Myosurus novae-zelandiae a declining species? Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin 42: 57-61
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Myosurus minimus subsp. novae-zelandiae Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/myosurus-minimus-subsp-novae-zelandiae/ (Date website was queried)