New Zealand spaghetti orchid
Vascular – Native
n = 19II 2n = 38
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 | Non-resident Native – Coloniser | Qualifiers: DP, OL, TO
Previous conservation status
2009 | Data Deficient
Endemic. New Zealand, North Island, Northland
This species has so far been recorded only from the upper trunk and branches of gorse (Ulex europaeus).
Diminutive epiphytic orchid; plant 30-50 mm diameter, growing tightly appressed to bark in moist, well lighted to semi-shaded situations. Roots terete, fleshy, swollen, c.1.0-1.5 mm diameter, up to 25 mm long, pale green to yellow-green. Leaves reducted to caducous scales on inflorescence. Inflorescence a 1-6-flowered raceme; raceme 15-25 mm long, bracteose, peduncle and rhacis capillary, zig-zagged between flower; bracts minute, narrowly ovate, caducous. Sepals and petals greenish yellow, fleshy, scarcely opening, and only then in the upper 1/2 to one 1/3. Dorsal sepal 3.5 x 0.5 mm, lateral sepals 3.2 x 0.6 mm. Petals 3.2 x 0.6 mm. Labellum 1.5 mm long, scaphoid, 3.2-3.3 mm long, minutely 3-lobed, bearing minute apical appendage; spur c.1,3 mm long. Capsule ellipsoidal, 6 mm long.
Easily recognised by seemingly leafless, greenish roots from which arise (in the appropriate season) small greenish-yellow flowers. Plants could only be confused with Drymoanthus which has rather similar looking roots, but which differs by the white (not green) roots, and by possessing large, conspicuous leaves.
Previously as Taeniophyllum norfolkianum Beadel et al. (2010) noted that the flowers of New Zealand specimens were 7-10 mm long, this is much larger than the range given by Jones (2006) for that Norfolk Island endemic and that of the specimens they lodged of T. northlandicum in the Auckland Museum Herbarium. The measurements given in the description here is based on those herbarium specimens. At the time the size ranges given were still larger than those given by Jones (2006) of T. norfolkianum suggesting that the exact identity of New Zealand plants may require further investigation. Recently Rice (2019) described the New Zealand plant as a new endemic species, noting that it differs from T. norfolkianum in its growth habit, root size (10-25 x 1.0-1.5 mm c.f. 15-60 x 1.2 mm), warty rather smooth raceme axis, with plants producing fewer flowers (1-6 c.f 5-12 flowers),. The flowers of T. northlandicum have a saccate rather spurred labellum base, and longer, more slender and triangular petal and sepals than the shortly ovate to sub hastate petals and sepals seen in T. norfolkianum. Finally the labellum of T. northlandicum is prominently 3-lobed and furnished with a longer, thicker, recurved apical horn at the lip apex (indistinctly 3-lobed, horn slimmer, upright, non-recurved in T. norfolkianum).
Difficult - should be left in the wild
The only known New Zealand population which was discovered late in 2009 occurs on private within a gorse dominated shrubland and silver fern (Cyathea dealbata) - mahoe (Melicytus ramiflorus subsp. ramiflorus) forest remnant south of Whangarei. At this stage the species is not known to be directly threatened within this habitat though it is vulnerable to fire. As Taeniophyllum is very small and easily overlooked it is likely that it occurs elsewhere in northern New Zealand. In the belief that this orchid was Taeniophyllum norfolkianum it was assessed in 2012 and again in 2017 as “Non-resident Native – Coloniser | Qualifiers: DP, OL, TO”. In reality as there have been no further surveys for this species since 2010, and the habitat it was found in is privately owned and was being cleared this orchid merits an assessment of “Data Deficient”.
This description was prepared by P. J. de Lange 27 September 2010 based on New Zealand specimens.
References and further reading
Beadel, S.; Renner, M.; Brandes, U. 2010: A new species of epiphytic orchidfor New Zealand, near Whangarei. Trilepidea 82: 3-4.
Green, P.S. 1994: Flora of Australia 49 - Oceanic Islands 1. Canberra, AGPS.
Jones, D.L. 2006: A complete guide to the native orchids of Australia including the island territories. Sydney, New Holland Publishers Ltd.
Rice, R. 2020: Introduction to the Australian & New Zealand Bulbophyllum & Vandaceous Orchids (with other observations in subtribe Aeridinae). Nature & Travel Books, Sydney.
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Taeniophyllum northlandicum Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/taeniophyllum-northlandicum/ (Date website was queried)