Chatham Island matipo, Chatham Island mapou
Suttonia chathamica (F.Muell.) Mez, Rapanea chathamica (F.Muell.) W.R.B.Oliv.
Vascular – Native
Trees & Shrubs - Dicotyledons
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) – 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.
Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – an interim threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
- Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017 . 2018. 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. Department of Conservation. Source: NZTCS and licensed by DOC for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.
2017 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Bushy small tree bearing dark green leathery leaves which often has small curled scales below the new growth inhabiting the Chatham and Stewart Islands. New growth hairy. Leaves 2-7.5cm long, those on juveniles much broader (to 120mm wide). Fruit glossy deep purple, arranged along twig.
Endemic. Abundant on the Chatham Islands, occasional on some islands and headlands of Stewart Island and the Foveaux Strait
On the Chatham Islands matipo (Myrsine chathamica) is an important forest species ranging from coastal sites to the table lands. Near the coast it often forms the dominant forest cover on limestone and schist outcrops, and it is tolerant of kopi (Corynocarpus laevigatus) so mixed kopi-matipo forests are commonly seen. It is less commonly found in the sand country except where sand dunes abut limestone or schist outcrops. In swamp forest it can be locally dominant and is also a major component of the forest cover on the peaty soils of the tablelands. On Stewart and the adjoining Foveaux Strait islands it forms only a minor component of the mixed coastal forest cover seen in these areas.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Commonly occurs as either a hydrophyte or non-hydrophyte (non-wetlands).
Stout, densely branched, gynodioecious, spreading tree up to 12 m tall (rarely decumbent forming sprawling patches up to 5 m diameter). Trunk up to 0.20 m dbh; usually multi-trunked or branched from near base, often bearing numerous root suckers and epicormic growth in exposed conditions; bark dark red-brown, brown or grey-brown, firm (not flaking). Branches numerous, initially upright, then spreading, often twisted, lenticellate; branchlets yellow-green to orange-green, lenticellate, initially clad in 0.2-0.35 mm long, stiff, patent to erecto-patent hairs becoming glabrous with age. Leaves alternate, coriaceous, glabrous, adaxially glossy dark green to green, abaxially paler oil-glands numerous, minute (scarcely evident adaxially, more so abaxially); midrib orange to pale yellow, initially minutely pubescent, slightly raised adaxially, prominently so abaxially, venation evident; petioles 5-10 mm long, rather rigid and somewhat fleshy when fresh, finely covered in 0.2-0.35 mm long, stiff hairs. Lamina 20-75(-120) × 15-40(-80) mm, flat, dish-shaped or recurved along margins, obovate, elliptic, broad-elliptic, apex emarginate or obtuse, margins entire. somewhat thicker than rest of lamina. Inflorescence in dense (1-)3-5(-10)-flowered fascicles. Flowers greenish yellow, pale yellow, or cream, and then spotted dark red or maroon, or wine-red spotted purple-black pedicels 4.6-7.2 mm long in fuit. Pistillate flowers: calyx 1.8-2.2 mm, tube 0.3-0.76 mm, lobes 4(-5),erecto-patent, 0.8-1.1 x 0.6-0.8 mm, oblanceolate, apex acute to subacute, margins ciliolate, cilia white; corolla 2.6-3.0 mm, tube 0.34-0.38 mm,lobes 4(-5), 2.0-2.4 x 1.0 mm, elliptic to elliptic-oblong, margins densely ciliolate,cilia white, apex rounded or obtuse. Antherodes malformed, 0.42-6.0 x 0.3-0.4 mm, apiculus recurved or absent; pollen absent. Ovary 1.8 x 2.3 mm, ellipsoid. Stigma sessile, 2.2 mm diameter, tholiform. Bisexual flowers: calyx 1.6-2.0 mm, tube 0.22-0.70 mm, lobes 4(-5), 0.6-0.9 x 0.6-0.9 mm, deltoid, margins minutely ciliolate, cilia white. Corolla 3.0-4.3 mm, tube 0.3-0.6 mm, lobes 4(-5), 2.8-4.2 × 1.4-2.0 mm, oblong-elliptic, elliptic, margins densely ciliolate,cilia white, apex obtuse to subacute. Anthers 1.9-2.1 × 0.9-1.2 mm, apiculus upright; pollen white. Ovary rudimentary or functional, if functional then 1.2-2.0 mm long. ellipsoid. Stigma sessile 2 mm diameter, tholiform. Drupe (5-)8-10 mm diameter, violet to purple, often white-spotted, globose. Endocarp 5.5-7.0 × 5.3-6.5 mm, circular or broadly elliptic, orange to light brown, surface smooth or slightly irregular, often longitudinally veined. Endocarp description adapted from Webb & Simpson (2001).
On the Chatham Islands Myrsine chathamica is distinctive, it scarcely resembles M. coxii with which it often grows on the southern tablelands. Myrsine coxii branches are fastigiately arranged (i.e. like a pitch fork) and it has much smaller yellow-green or dark green inrolled, oval to oblong with emarginate apices or obcordate leaves. In New Zealand, the large, dark green, coriaceous, obovate, elliptic, broad-elliptic, often dish-shaped emarginate leaves with their entire margins are distinctive and serve to distinguish it from all other Myrsine with which it grows.
September - October
July - February
Easily grown from fresh seed, root suckers and cuttings made of epicormic growth and/or semi-hardwood cuttings. Myrsine chathamica is very hardy and moderately fast growing though it will not tolerate drought conditions of high humidity. It is an excellent hedge plant especially in the more southerly coastal parts of the New Zealand.
Not Threatened. However, Myrsine chathamica is uncommon on Stewart Island.
chathamica: From the Chatham Islands
On the Chatham Islands Myrsine chathamica occasionally hybridises with Myrsine coxii.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 11 February 2011. Endocarp description adapted from Webb & Simpson (2001).
References and further reading
Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Myrsine chathamica Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/myrsine-chathamica/ (Date website was queried)