Olearia virgata var. lineata Kirk
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 = 108
Current conservation status
The threat classification 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. 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. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: RF
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: PD, RF
2009 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: RF, PD
2004 | Sparse
Bushy small tree bearing masses of erect square in cross-section twigs that have clusters of small very thin leaves that are white underneath inhabiting damper sites in the southern 2/3 of the South Island. Leaves 15-40mm long by 1-2mm wide, surface not wrinkled. Flowers small, in clusters.
Endemic. South Island, easterly from north Canterbury south to Southland and Stewart Island.
Lowland to montane (10-300 m a.s.l.) grey scrub, tussock grassland and forest margins. Often on river terraces in or near seepages and ephemeral wetlands, on occasion even growing in shallow water. Also found on the margins of steep river gorges, and in and amongst rock outcrops, boulder field and at the toe of alluvial fans.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
FACU: Facultative Upland
Occasionally is a hydrophyte but usually occurs in uplands (non-wetlands).
Small tree up to 8 m tall with narrow to broad canopy crowns. Trunk stout, erect, solitary, sometimes several arising from the ground, up to 0.6 m d.b.h. Bark grey or charcoal-grey, firm, deeply furrowed, shedding in tough, corky shards. Branches sparse to numerous, at first ascending then widely spreading; branchlets grey to charcoal grey, more or less square and angled in cross-section, deeply and longitudinally grooved, slender, at first erect then spreading, ultimately pendulous. Brachyblasts 10-30 mm long distantly spaced. Leaves 2-10-fascicled; 20-60 x 0.4-0.8 mm, linear to very narrow-linear, upper surface dark green more or less covered with finely appressed greyish-white indument, glabrate to glabrous with age, undersides clad in soft, white to greyish-white appressed tomentum, margin often strongly revolute. Capitula discoid, 1-8-fascicled, 2-4(-6) mm diameter, pedicellate, pedicels up to 40 mm long; florets 6-10, off-white to white (rarely creamy yellow), involucral bracts 2-4-seriate, narrowly lanceolate to oblanceolate, undersides finely grey-white villous. Cypsela 1-2 mm long, compressed, finely pubescent, puberulent to glabrescent, pappus hairs 2-3 mm long, off white to buff.
None - the greyish coloured branches, mature trees with typically spreading canopy crowns, numerous pendulous branchlets, finely linear, greyish-green leaves, and distinctively long pedicellate flowers are unique to this species. Olearia lineata cv. Dartonii is a popular cultivar grown widely and often erroneously as this species, it has similar but wider green to grey-green leaves with very white undersides and a less pendulous more narrowly erect growth habit. It seems to be a hybrid involving Olearia lineata and O. traversiorum (F.Muell.) Hook.f.
November - January
January - April
Easily grown from semi-hardwood cuttings and fresh seed. A beautiful specimen tree which is very drought tolerant once established but can also tolerate waterlogged soils, and is of course extremely cold tolerant. The fine, linear, grey-green leaves and somewhat spreading pendulous branches and stout tree habit are particularly noteworthy. It deserves to be more widely cultivated than it currently is.
Widespread and at times locally abundant (especially in some parts of Central Otago) O. lineata is otherwise often known from only widely scattered sites with few individuals. Although widespread the majority of the known populations are not officially protected and recruitment is often lacking. Olearia lineata together with the majority of Eastern South Island endemic Olearia Sect. Divaricaster Heads is the subject of a major Department of Conservation initiated Recovery Plan. As part of that work this species has been subject to intensive survey.
olearia: Named after Johann Gottfried Olearius, a 17th-century German scholar, writer of hymns and author of Specimen Florae Hallensis
lineata: Linear, striped with a parallel line (plumb line)
Fact sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange for NZPCN (1 June 2013)
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Olearia lineata Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/olearia-lineata/ (Date website was queried)