Rubus schmidelioides var. schmidelioides
tātarāmoa, bush lawyer, white-leaved lawyer
Rubus australis var. schmidelioides (A.Cunn.) Hook.f.; Rubus cissoides var. coloratus Kirk
Vascular – Native
Trees & Shrubs - Dicotyledons
2n = 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
Prickly scrambling vine. Prickles red. Leaves compound; leaflets usually three, these leathery, dark-green to bronze green, markedly wrinkled above with the undersides covered in fine white, grey-white or brown tomentum. Flowers white or cream in small panicles. Fruits yellow or orange.
Endemic. New Zealand: North Island (from about Hikurangi - Dargaville South), South and Stewart Islands
Coastal to montane in scrub and forest.
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).
Commonly occurs as either a hydrophyte or non-hydrophyte (non-wetlands).
Much-branched dioecious vine with stems up to 10 m or more long when growing through supporting vegetation or forming sprawling bushes with interlacing branchlets when exposed. Young branchlets terete, up to 40 mm diameter; pubescent, becoming glabrous with age, armed or unarmed; when armed then armed with small, reddish prickles. Stipules minute, caducous, linear to linear-filiform. Leaves of adults ternate to palmate, petioles 20-50 mm long; lamina of adult leaflets 30-80 × 10-50 mm, coriaceous, ovate, oval, lanceolate, elliptic to broadly elliptic, acute, subacute to obtuse, rounded to oblique at base, margins coarsely and often unevenly serrate, adaxially dark green to bronze-green, more or less glossy, glabrous or almost glabrous, rugose to bullate, veins distinct (these often minutely pubescent), abaxially glaucous to white, usually finely, densely tomentose, tomentum white to grey-white, veins prominent below, pubescent, midrib armed or not; petiolules 3-5(-20 mm long). Inflorescence a much-branched panicle up to 100 mm long (rarely reduced to few-flowered racemes), branchlets and pedicels unarmed, more or less finely pubescent. Flowers white to cream, usually densely aggregate, on pedicels 5-10 mm long. Sepals 2-6 mm long, ovate-oblong to broad-ovate, pubescent; petals 5, 4-7 mm long, ovate to broadly ovate. Male flowers with numerous stamens, ovary absent or rudimentary. Female flowers with rudimentary stamen, carpels numerous. Fruits 5-9 mm diameter, druplets 8-12 (or more), yellow or orange. Endocarp ‘seed’ 1.9-2.5 mm long, dorsally ridged 2x.
Distinguished from introduced Rubus (blackberries, raspberries wineberries etc) by the smaller flowers, usually palmate or ternate leaves, and the lack of long glandular bristly hairs on the young stems. Rubus schmidelioides var. schmidelioides differs from the other indigenous New Zealand Rubus (bush lawyers) by the red prickles, leathery, rugose to bullate leaves, with greyish white, white (rarely brown) tomentose or glaucous leaflet undersides, and yellow to orange fruits. Rubus schmidelioides var. subpauperatus differs from var. schmidelioides by the more conspicuously armed stems, petioles and leaf midveins, ternate to palmate leaves, by the narrowly lanceolate leaflets, and more compact panicles.
September - November
December - April
Easily grown from layered stems and semi-hardwood cuttings. Flourishes when planted in damp ground in a well-lighted situation. Not often grown on account of its prickly stems - but nevertheless an attractive plant. The fruits though edible are insipid.
rubus: From the Latin meaning bramble
schmidelioides: Like schmidelia, a soap wort
In the North-West Nelson region (west from about the Wakamarama range south to the Mokihinui Bluff) a very broad-leaved race of Rubus schmidelioides is present (the description above includes this entity). On account of its large leaflets it is known locally as Rubus “Strawberry Leaf” - its taxonomic status requires further investigation.
Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 26 October 2016. Description based on Allan (1961), Webb et al. (1988) and Webb & Simpson (2001)
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Wellington, Government Printer.
Webb CJ, Sykes WR, Garnock-Jones PJ 1988: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. IV. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch.
Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Rubus schmidelioides var. schmidelioides Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/rubus-schmidelioides-var-schmidelioides/ (Date website was queried)