Vascular – Native
2n = 56
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 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: CD, DP
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: CD, DP
2004 | Threatened – Nationally Critical
Endemic. South Island (Central Otago) and Stewart Island. Known from the salt pans of Central Otago and in coastal sites on Stewart Island (Paterson Inlet and Mason Bay).
A species of inland salt pans, salt slicks, and coastal salt encrusted sand depressions. It has aleo been collected from near barren, stony ground within an estuary.
Diminutive perennial grass forming diffuse matts up to 2 m diam. and 450 mm high. Plants usually partially covered in soil, rarely flowering with only the short, narrow, dull green leaves visible. Branching extravaginal. Leaf-sheath hairless, wider than leaf-blade, ribs few, distinct. Ligule 0.2-0.6 mm, obtuse or truncate, transparent. Leaf-blade 10-30 x 0.2-0.5 mm, hair-like, inrolled, sometimes curled, hairless, tips subacute, margins minutely scabrid. Culm entirely hidden by leaf-sheaths. Panicle rarely present, 10-16 mm, overtopped by leaves, bearing 12 spikelets. Spikelets 3-4(-4.8) mm, 4-6-flowered, green to brownish green. Glumes unequal, ovate, obtuse; lower 0.6-1 mm, 1-nerved, upper 1.1-1.4 mm, 3-nerved. Lemma 1.8-2.5 mm, 5-nerved, ovate-elliptic, hairless. Anthers 0.4-0.6 mm. Seeds 1.2-1.6 x 0.6-0.7 mm.
This species can be distinguished from all other New Zealand Puccinellia Parl. in that it has extravaginal innovation shoots. Flowering plants are rarely seen. When present they differ from other Puccinellia in that the flowering panicles rarely overtop the surrounding leaves.
November - January
November - February
Can be grown by the division of whole plants. Fresh seed should germinate easily.
This species is seriously threatened throughout its known mainland range because of the encroachment of salt-tolerant weeds within the saline soil habitats of Central Otago. Its status on Stewart Island remains unclear being known from just two collections made from widely separated localities and 20 years apart.
puccinellia: After the italian botanist Benedetto Puccinelli (1808 - 1850).
raroflorens: From the Latin raro ‘sporadic’ and florens ‘flowering’
Where To Buy
Not commercially available. A few plants are held by specialist growers.
Description modified from Edgar and Connor (2000).
References and further reading
Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2000: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. V. Grasses. Christchurch, Manaaki Whenua Press. 650 pp.