Calea leptophylla G.Forst., Cassinia leptophylla (G.Forst.) R.Br., Olearia xanthophylla Colenso, Cassinia fulvida var montana; Cassina glossophylla Cass., Cassinia retorta A.Cunn., Cassinia vauvilliersii var. serpentina Cockayne & Allan
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 = 26-28
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 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Grey or yellow-green bushy shrub.
North, South, Stewart and Auckland Islands. Found throughout.
Coastal to subalpine shrubland and scrub.
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).
Shrub up to 2 (-3) m. tall. Bark light brown, furrowed. Branchlets slender, greyish-tomentose round in cross-section, young growth sticky, clad in yellowish tomentum, or white and not so sticky. Leaves alternate 2-4 x 1-2.5 mm, narrow-linear to linear-spathulate, margins slightly revolute; lamina erect to spreading from appressed short petiole, coriaceous, becoming glabrous above, beneath clad in white tomentum with prominent midrib. Capitula numerous in small dense corymbs, pedicels short; phyllaries in 3-4 series, outer glabrous to pubescent-ciliate, inner with short white radiating tips; forming a narrow-turbinate involucre 3-4 mm. long. Scales of receptacle numerous, white-tipped; florets 6-10. Achenes approximately 1 mm long, glabrous or nearly so; pappus-hairs up to 4 mm long, slender, slightly thickened at tips.
Flowerheads in flat-topped clusters terminating the branchlets, the red-tipped scales often prominent in bud, white-tipped when open, with white scales among the florets. Seeds fluffy, fawn, dispersed by wind.
Ozothamnus vauvilliersii has leaves of obovate order, distinctly widened above middle.
Olearia solandri has leaves opposite or in opposite clusters, young branchlets square in cross-section, and white daisies borne along the leafy shoots.
Olearia nummulariifolia has stiffer, broader leaves, and white daisies borne behind the leafy shoot tip. Olearia cymbifolia has stiff leaves with margins rolled down almost to the midrib, and flowers like Olearia nummulariifolia.
Brachyglottis cassinioides has leaves whitish green above, white beneath, with margins slightly toothed on shaded shoots, and bright yellow daisy flowers.
ozothamnus: from the Greek ‘ozo’ meaning to smell and ‘thamnos’ meaning shrub; alluding to the fragrant foliage when crushed.
leptophyllus: With slender leaves
The name Ozothamnus leptophyllus (formerly Cassinia leptophylla) is used by Wilson & Galloway (1993) to cover all forms of Ozothamnus (Cassinia) in New Zealand. Historically several forms had been given names at species level, and although some of these might be worthy of recognition as subspecies or varieties, there is no good evidence that the diverse populations represent more than one variable species (Webb et al. 1988).
In the Canterbury/ Westland region, eastern forms from drier habitats tend to have more slender branchlets, narrower, more pointed leaves, and yellower or orange-yellow tomentum. They have been called C. fulvida. Further west, and at higher altitudes in eastern districts, the branchlets tend to be stouter, the leaves broader and more rounded at the tips, and the tomentum paler yellow. They have been called C. vauvilliersii. Another widespread common form in the North Island and the northern end of the South Island has white tomentum and small, narrow leaves 2-4 mm long; the whole bush looks greyish white rather than green from a distance. This is C. leptophylla in the narrow sense. It has gone locally wild in a few places in Canterbury such as on the Port Hills where it is escaping from cultivation. Wild forms approaching it lap into Canterbury from the north. Rarely, white forms crop up as single or a few plants in the middle of C. vauvilliersii-like populations, although the leaves are larger than in the more northern white populations of typical C. leptophylla.
Description adapted by M. Ward from Allan (1961) and Wilson & Galloway (1993).
References and further reading
Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand. Vol. 1. Wellington: Government Printer. pg. 726.
Webb, C. J., Sykes, W. R and Garnock-Jones, P. J. 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Vol. IV. Naturalised Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. DSIR, Botany Division, Wellington.
Wilson, H. D., & Galloway, T. 1993. Small-leaved shrubs of New Zealand. Manuka Press. pg. 204-205.