Mt Burnett Matipo
Vascular – Native
Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs
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 – Declining | Qualifiers: CD, OL
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: OL
2004 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered
Greyish green shrub bearing spotted leaves inhabiting Mt Burnett (near Collingwood). Leaves with small dent at tip and small dark blotch at base, 5-20mm long by 5-15mm wide. Fruit white, rarely with some pink.
Endemic. South Island, North West Nelson, Mt Burnett.
Dolomite karrenfield and associated cloud forest.
Shrub or small tree up to 9 m tall. Branches leafy throughout, upright and spreading not drooping or divaricating. Bark smooth, grey, trunks with occasional ring-like constrictions (especially near base). Leaves alternate, 5-20 x 5-15 mm, obovate to obcordate, rarely oval or orbicular, apex retuse, silver-green to pale green or cream-green, with a dark blotch at leaf-base. Females flowers solitary or in bunches of 2-4 flowers. Sepals 4, 0.75-1 x 0.75 mm, broad oval, brown to brown-pink, Petals (3-)4, 1-1.6 x 1-1.1 mm, pale yellow to yellow-pink, obovate, recurved at maturity. Male flowers in bunches of 3-4 flowers. Fruit a circular drupe, white, very rarely flushed pink at base.
Part of the M. divaricata complex. Collectively the seven species of this group can be recognised by their circular fruits and small, leafy branches. Of these species M. argentea is most likely to be confused with M. divaricata, with which it consistently shares the dark blotch at the leaf petiole junction. However, M. divaricata though variable in form, has predominantly purple drupes, and usually drooping or pendant interlaced branches.
August to October, peaking in September
April to May
Easily grown from fresh fruit. Can be grown from semi-hardwood cuttings, which can be slow to strike.
This species is endemic to the dolomite and dolomite limestone exposures on Mt Burnett - an area of about 6 ha. Here it is threatened by the dolomite mining of the mountain. Recent (2006) decisions to restrict dolomite mining have reduced some of this threat but the species is still at risk from the spread of weeds, particularly Mexican daisy (Erigerion karvinskianus) which colonise the open ground this species preferentially regenerates into. Mine roads and vehicles remain a constant threat because they help facilitate the spread of weeds across the mountain. It remains to be seen whether measures imposed on the mining company to control weed spread and rehabilitate old mine workings will prevent further decline in this species, and the other special plants of Mt Burnett.
Where To Buy
Not commercially available. Some plants are held at Percy Reserve, Otari and Auckland Botanic Gardens.
Myrsine argentea plants are slow to establish on old mined ground and are especially vulnerable when young to trampling and animal browse. The species can at times be seriously browsed by possums which are common in the area.
Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 1 October 2003. Description modified from Heenan & de Lange (1998).
References and further reading
Heenan, P.B.; de Lange, P. J. 1998: A new and remarkably local species of Myrsine (Myrsinaceae) from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 36(3): 381-387
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Myrsine argentea Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/myrsine-argentea/ (Date website was queried)