Zostera muelleri subsp. novazelandica
seagrass, eelgrass, nana, zostera
Z. novazelandica Setch., Zostera muelleri Irmisch.ex Asch.; Zostera muelleri subsp. novaezelandica (Setch.) S.W.L.Jacobs orth. var.
Vascular – Native
Herbs - Monocots
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 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: EF, SO
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: SO
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Indigenous. North, South and Stewart Islands. Throughout southern and eastern Australia
Marine. Mostly submerged in estuaries where it is found on intertidal and subtidal flats of sandy mud. Often in channels or deep pools of water
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).
OBL: Obligate Wetland
Almost always is a hydrophyte, rarely in uplands (non-wetlands).
Grass-like plants of mud or sandy-silt shallow marine environments. Rhizomes compressed 1-2 mm diameter, widely creeping, rooting at nodes; internodes 10-20 mm long. Leaf-sheath 20-40 mm long, becoming fibrous with age, the broad membranous margins inflexed and each terminating in an erect rounded auricle; lamina 50-300 x 1-2 mm; primary nerves 3, interstitial nerves 4-6, cross veins usually at more or less regular, long intervals and mostly all extending from the median to marginal nerve, producing a pattern of distinctive long oblongs. Erect stems narrow, flattened, the subfloral peduncular internode 10-60 x 0.6-1.0 mm. Spathe-like sheath 15-25 x 2.0-2.5 mm (folded width), its margins squarely truncate at the apex and its terminating lamina 30-80 x 1.5-2.0 mm. Spadix often shorter than spathe; retinacula usually 3 on each side, broadly obliquely ovate 1.0-1.5 x 1.0 mm and 2.0-2.5 mm apart. Stamens and carpels closely packed, carpels rarely > 6 and anther-sacs about twice their number, all sloping obliquely inwards and upwards. Achene elliptic-oblong, 2.5 x 1.0 mm; seed smooth, yellow.
None - plants referred to Z. capricorni in Flora 2 are merely larger forms of the same subspecies. The type of Z. capricorni is Australian and plants matching that type are not found in New Zealand
October - February
January - February
Easily grown in saltwater tanks but otherwise difficult. Plants can be easily propagated through division.
Not Threatened. However, due to widespread siltation and increasingly poor water quality eelgrass communities are declining throughout their range.
zostera: Girdle or belt
muelleri: Named after Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, 19th century German/Australian botanist and founder of the National Herbarium of Victoria
Where To Buy
Not commerically available.
Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1997).
References and further reading
Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Government Printer, Wellington.