Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
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 = 12
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 – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP, RR, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP
2004 | Sparse
Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (Marlborough, Canterbury and Central Otago).
Subalpine to alpine (1500-1800 m. a.s.l.) where it grows in acidic bogs with other small herbs, often in areas subject to flooding, often for protracted periods.
Small rosette-forming prostrate herb, presumably perennial. Primary root short-lived, dying to leave a circular root scar cavity 4-5 mm diameter, a circle of adventitious roots developing around the scar periphery. Stem very short, simple, with tuft of pale brown hairs 6-8 mm long. Leaves sessile, c.10.0-36.0 × 0.4-1.8 mm, subulate or linear-subulate, thick, with lower surface rounded and upper surface slightly concave, entire and glabrous or with scattered obtuse teeth which are often hairy, these hairs usually sparse except towards base. Flowers solitary on a short ± appressed hairy scape 1-8 mm long, elongating to c. 3-11 mm in fruit, almost hidden by long stem hairs. Bracts 2-4 mm long, broad ovate-elliptic, membranous except for herbaceous keel, glabrous. Calyx 3.5-5.0 × c.2.0 mm; segments + elliptic, membranous except for herbaceous keel, narrow, glabrous. Corolla 4-5 mm long, membranous; lobes 1.7-2.5 mm long, elliptic to ovate; often appearing lanceolate because of inrolled margins. Stamens 3-5 mm long; anthers apiculate. Ovary with 820 ovules; style 6-10 mm long, glandular-scaly, and rather densely hairy. Capsule 4.5-11.0 × 2.0-3.5 mm diameter across base of cap (across area of dehiscence), ± ellipsoid; basal part usually 3-9 mm long, obconic or funnelform, conspicuous and persistent; dehiscent cap 1.2-2.0 mm high, obversely campanulate. Seeds 5-11, including several aborted ones, normal ones 1.0-1.9 × 0.7-1.2 mm, ± ellipsoid or ovoid-ellipsoid but tending irregular, rather flattened.
Allied to P. triandra Bergg. from which it differs by the very large, rather conspicuous, funnelform (obconic) capsule, smaller, finer subulate leaves, fewer seeds, and different chromosome number (2n = 12 cf. 2n = 48 in P. triandra).
January - March
February - May
An apparently naturally uncommon, high altitude, biologically sparse species. However, because it is so small it is easily overlooked, and it is probably more widespread than is currently known. Further survery to ascertain an exact status is much desired.
plantago: Old Latin name for flat-leaved plants
obconica: Inverted cone
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Description based on Sykes (1988).
References and further reading
Sykes, W.R. 1988: Notes on New Zealand Plantago species. New Zealand Journal of Botany 26: 321-323