Myrtus pedunculata Hook.f., Eugenia vitis-idaea Raoul, Myrtus vitis-idaea (Raoul) Druce, Neomyrtus vitis-idaea (Raoul) Burret
Vascular – Native
Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs
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 = 22
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 Critical
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Wide-angled shrub with long pale twigs that are square in cross-section bearing small pale green oval leaves that are paler underneath and bright orange fruit hanging on a long stalk. Bark pale, smooth. Leaves dotted, 6-20mm long by 4-15mm wide. Flowers white, with many projecting filaments from the centre.
Endemic. North, South and Stewart Islands from near Kaitaia (Mangamuka) south but generally scarce in Northland and Auckland.
Coastal to montane forest and shrubland. Often a conspicuous component of the understorey of lowland Podocarp riparian forest but also an frequent component of grey scrub in some parts of the South Island. Unless flowering or fruiting Neomyrtus is often overlooked or mistaken for the superficially similar Lophomyrtus obcordata with which it often grows.
Shrub or small tree up to 8 m tall. Trunk slender, c.0.1 m dbh. Bark pale-grey to almost silvery, chartaceous, flaking in small irregular shards. Branches few to many, upright to spreading, often openly branched. Branchlets glabrous, 4-angled, rather brittle, either sparse and so openly branched or densely and then compactly interwoven. Brachyblasts usually sparingly leafy except toward actively growing apices. Leaves opposite, coriaceous, glandular punctate, oil glands colourless, leaf lamina and petiole decurrent with branchlet; petioles 3-6 mm long, somewhat brittle; lamina 6-15(-20) × 4-10(-15) mm, obovate-oblong to obovate, adaxially glabrous, silvery green, pale green to yellow-green, red to purple-black spotted, abaxially pale silvery green to white, glabrescent (initially finely hairy, hairs sericeous, ± finely appressed, caducous). Flowers 5-merous,in axillary, usually solitary (rarely paired) monads, borne on slender, 10-15(-20) mm long pedicels. Hypanthium subturbinate, not extending beyond ovary summit, calyx lobes 5, persistent, deltoid, spreading. Petals 5-8(-10) × 6-9 mm, orbicular, white, margins entire to slightly irregular, oil glands colourless. Stamens 40-60(-80), free, in 3-4 (or more) weakly defined whorls, filaments 5-9 mm long, anthers cream, basifixed, latrorse. Ovary unilocular, weakly septate, ovules borne on 2 parietal placentas. Style 8-10 mm long, slender, white, stigma capitate, scarcely dilated. Fruit a broadly ovoid, yellow, orange or red 6-8 mm long berry. Seeds 1-7(-11) varying in shape depending on number of seeds present per berry, mostly reniform, 1.5-2.5 mm diameter, testa brown, glossy smooth and very hard.
November - April
February - June
Easily grown from fresh seed. Can also be grown from semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings though the strike rate can be variable. Neomyrtus is an attractive and remarkably hard shrub that does well when planted in a semi-shaded site, in a free draining, moist, fertile soil enriched with leaf litter and compost. It is however, rather drought tolerant and can (once established) be grown in high light situations. It is surprisingly drought tolerant. On account of its conspicuous flowers and colourful berries it is a very attractive plant that is well worth growing. Neomyrtus is, however, rarely available from garden centres.
The arrival of myrtle rust in NZ puts this plant at serious risk.
pedunculata: Flowers stalked
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 9 February 2011. Seed description which is modified from Webb & Simpson (2001). Status updated by C C Ogle 25.10.19, following https://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/science-and-technical/nztcs22entire.pdf
References and further reading
Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Neomyrtus pedunculata Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/neomyrtus-pedunculata/ (Date website was queried)