Lowland horopito, lowland pepper tree
Drimys axillaris J.R.Forst. et G.Forst., Drimys axillaris J.R.Forst. et G.Forst. var. axillaris, Wintera axillaris G.Forst., Wintera terminalis Tiegh.
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 = 86
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 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Pungent leaved small shrub with wavy shiny green leaves that are pale underneath
Endemic. North and South Islands. Scarce north of Auckland, extending to near Westport on the west of the South Island
Lowland to montane forest. From near sea level.
Shrub or small tree up to 7 m tall; trunks and branches upright; bark dark; branchlets dark. Plants glabrous. Petiole slender, 2 cm long, dark reddish brown. Leaves alternate, pungent, 6-10 x 3-6 cm, upper surface glossy, dark green to yellowish-green, without blemishes or blotches; midvein conspicuous, pale; lamina elliptic-oblong to elliptic-obovate to ovate-oblong to lanceolate rhomboid, margin undulate, obtuse to subacute, coriaceous; undersides pale to glaucous but not white; midvein pale. Inflorescences axillary, flowers bisexual, c. 1 cm diam., in fascicles of 1-5-(10), on slender pedicels 5-10 mm long. Calyx cupule margins sub-entire to shallowly lobed. Corolla comprised of 5-(6) free petals, these 5-6 mm long, narrow-oblong to narrow-obovate, grenish yellow, apex obtuse. Carpels 1-6, stigma apical. Stamens 6-20. Fruit a 3-6-seeded fleshyglobose to subglobose berry, 5-6 mm diam., orange to orange-red. Seed 3-angled, obovate to elliptic, 2.5-3.9 mm, surface irrregular (showing striping under very high magnification).
Similar to other Pseudowintera species from which it can be distinguished by leaf size and the absence of blotching and colour and non-white undersurface of the leaf
October-January (some fruit may be retained until June)
Not Threatened. Unpalatable to browsers
pseudowintera: False Wintera (a related genus)
Notes on Taxonomy
The Winteraceae is one of the most primitive families of the flowering plants and flower parts are relatively un-specialised.
Description adapted from Allan (1961), Heenan et al. (2006) and Eagle (2006).
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand. Government Printer, Wellington
Heenan, P.B, de Lange, P.J. 2006. Pseudowintera insperata (Winteraceae), an overlooked and rare new species from northern New Zealand. NZ J. Botany 44: 89-98
Eagle, A. 2000. Eagle’s complete trees and shrubs of NZ. Te Papa Press, Wellington; Webb, C.J. & Simpson, M.J.A. 2001. Seeds of NZ gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Manuka Press, Christchurch.