Pseudopanax simplex (G.Forst.) Philipson; Panax simplex G.Forst.; Nothopanax simplex (G.Forst.) Seem; Neopanax simplex (G.Forst) 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 = 24
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
Small tree with different adult (single) and juvenile (trifoliate) toothed leaves on long red stalks and flattened fruit in small clusters
Endemic. North, South, Stewart and Aucklands Islands. From Te Moehau (Coromandel) south
Lowland to montane forest and also shrubland at tree line. Near seal level to 1400 m a.s.l.
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).
UPL: Obligate Upland
Rarely is a hydrophyte, almost always in uplands (non-wetlands).
Monoecious. Small much branched tree to 8 m tall; all parts glabrous; bark whiteish grey,branchlets non-fleshy. Leaves alternate; stipules absent. Seedling leaves unifoliate, becoming 3-5-foliate in juvenile stage and then 1-3-foliate in adult. Juvenile leaves sessile or subsessile, 4-15 cm long, narrowly oblong to elliptic, deeply lobed to pinnatifid, lobes acute to obtuse; petioles to 10 cm long. Later juvenile leaves shorter, 5-8 cm long, elliptic to obovate-oblong to lanceolate, acute or obtuse, margins sharply to bluntly serrate, petioles to 6 cm long. Adult leaves usually unifoliate, but trifoliate leaves common, 5-10 x 1.5-4 cm, coriaceous, dark green above, paler below, variously shaped from lanceolate to obovate-oblong, sharply serrate, tip acuminate to acute to obtuse, veins obvious, raised; petiole 3-8 cm long, reddish, non-clasping, terminating in small node in unifoliate leaves. Inflorescence axillary, a compound raceme. Umbellule 5-15 flowered; rays short. Flowers small, green; calyx minutely 5-toothed; ovary 2-loculed, each with 1 ovule; style branches 2, free at tips, stronly curved, connate; stamens 5, projecting,
Vegetatively similar to some other Pseudopanax species and Raukaua edgerleyi. The unifoliate leaves with a small node at the distal end of the petiole is distinctive, but trioliate specimens can be difficult to distinguish from other species unless flowering or fruiting. The sharply lobed juvenile leaves are distinctive except from Raukaua edgeleyi and Schefflera digitata. R. edgerleyi can be distinguished from R. simplex by its aromatic crushed leaves.
raukaua: From the Maori name for R. edgerleyi, raukawa
simplex: Simple, not compound
Where To Buy
Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.
Notes on taxonomy
Recently Frodin & Govaerts (2003) transferred the Chilean species Pseudopanax laetevirens (Miq.) Ball and Tasmanian P. gunnii (Hook.f.) K.Koch to Raukaua. See Frodin, D.G.; Govaerts, R. 2003: World Checklist and Bibliography of Araliaceae, The Cromwell Press, European Union.
Raukaua simplex var. sinclairii (Hook.f.) A.D.Mitchell, D.Frodin et M.Heads is the name given to specimens in the North Island that retain trifoliate leaves as an adult. The distinctiveness of this variety needs further consideration.
Description adapted from Mitchell (2005), Mitchell et al (1997), Eagle (2000) and Webb and Simpson (2001).
References and further reading
Moorfield, J. C. (2005). Te aka : Maori-English, English-Maori dictionary and index. Pearson Longman: Auckland, N.Z.
Mitchell, A.D, Frodin, D.G, Heads, M.J. 1997. Reinstatement of Raukaua, a genus of the Araliaceae centred on New Zealand. NZ J. Botany 305: 309-315;
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.