Vascular – Native
Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites
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 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand: North Island (Central Volcanic Plateau and adjacent mountains). Possibly also the South Island (this requires further investigation - see Similar Species and Taxonomic Notes)
Montane to alpine. In permanently to seasonally damp, open sites and depressions such as within marginal turf of lake and ponds
Perennial, ± succulent creeping herb forming matted patches up to 0.2 m in diameter. Stems and branches, 0.7-1.0 mm diameter, white or yellowish, procumbent held near at or just below substrate surface, widely spreading, rooting at nodes yellowish. Leaves, 1-4 borne in a fascicles along stem, alternate, appressed to ground, coriaceous, (± succulent), dark green, glabrous, glossy; petioles 1.2-4.3 mm long, slender flattened; lamina 3-8 × 0.6-1.2 mm, narrowly spathulate, obovate-spathulate, linear-spathulate to linear, base attenuate to truncate, apex acute. Inflorescences single, arising in leaf axils, borne on stout fleshy, bracteate peduncles 1.2-3.6 mm, bracts 0.6-1.1 x 0.2-0.8 mm, narrowly lanceolate, falcate, green, erect; pedicels 1-4 mm long; bracts 0.2-0.7 × 0.1-0.3 mm, subulate-attenuate. Flowers solitary. Calyx persistent, calyx lobes 0.6-1.0 x 0.3-0.8 mm, linear to narrow-triangular, green, distally flushed red, apex acute; corolla 4-6 x 4-10 mm; petals 5 fused in proximal part, inner surface white to pale blue, outer white, pinkish-white to pale red; petal segments 4-6 x 1.0-1.4 mm, lanceolate to narrow-oblong, falcate, acute to acuminate. Ovary 0.8-1.0 mm, green, glabrous. Style purple-red, stigma glabrous, orange brown. Stamens 3, orange-brown. Fruit 2.0-4.1 x 2.0-6.0 mm, obovoid to ovoid, truncate, green. Seeds 1.0-1.8 mm long, broadly ovate, broadly elliptic to almost circular, biconvex, pale orange yellow to pale brown, winged, wing < 1 mm wide, margin irregular, wrinkled, translucent.
Selliera microphylla is only doubtfully distinct from S. radicans which is an extremely variable species. Traditionally botanists have segregated S. microphylla from S. radicans on the basis of it being a smaller plant of mountains and alpine areas. However, such plants, when cultivated at lower altitudes grow larger and so fall within the range of variation currently accepted for S. radicans. Webb & Simpson (2001) note that seeds of S. microphylla have a narrower wing (< 0.1 mm wide) than those of S. radicans but are otherwise indistinguishable. Nevertheless cytologically there is some support for S. microphylla (see de Lange & Rolfe 2010) but this needs further investigation. Thus as a precautionary measure, until such a study is done this species is accepted here as distinct from S. radicans. Selliera microphylla is readily distinguished from S. rotundifolia a strictly coastal species with rotund, orbicular leaves
October - April
December - May
Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of established plants. Does best in a permanently damp site in full sun. Not particularly fussy about soil fertility.
selliera: After Sellier
microphylla: Small leaf
Doubtfully distinct from Sellieria radicans. Sellieria microphylla is said to differ mainly by its smaller size and inland distribution. However, in cultivation plants revert to forms indistinguishable from S. radicans. Nevertheless while both Sellieria radicans and S. rotundifolia have 2n = 16 a single gathering of S. microphylla from the Kaingaroa Plain had 2n = 56 chromosomes. Further study is needed.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 28 June 2012. Description from herbarium material and fresh plants except for the seed description which is modified from Webb & Simpson (2001).
References and further reading
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R. 2010: New Zealand Indigenous Vascular Plant Checklist. Wellington, New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. 164pp.
Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of New Zealand gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Christchurch, The Caxton Press. 428 p.
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Selliera microphylla Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/selliera-microphylla/ (Date website was queried)