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Title: Dracophyllum  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Flora of New Zealand, Grass tree, Dracophyllum oceanicum, Dracophyllum fitzgeraldii, Dracophyllum secundum
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Mountain Neinei, Dracophyllum traversii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Dracophyllum
Labill., 1800

D. acerosum
D. acicularifolium
D. adamsii
D. affine
D. alticola
D. amabile
D. angustifolium
D. arboreum
D. arcuatum
D. attenuatum
D. balansae
D. brachycladum
D. brachyphyllum
D. capitatum
D. cockaynianum
D. collinum
D. compactum
D. cosmelioides
D. densiflorum
D. densum
D. dracaenoides
D. dracophylloides
D. drummondii
D. erectum
D. featonianum
D. filifolium
D. fiordense
D. fitzgeraldii
D. gracile
D. heteroflorum
D. heterophyllum
D. imbricatum
D. insulare
D. involucratum
D. kirkii
D. latifolium
D. lessonianum
D. longifolium
D. lyallii
D. macranthum
D. mackeeanum
D. marginatum
D. marmoricola
D. mathewsii
D. menziesii
D. milliganii
D. minimum
D. montanum
D. muscoides
D. oceanicum
D. oliveri
D. ophioliticum
D. ouaiemense
D. paludosum
D. palustre
D. parviflorum
D. patens
D. pearsonii
D. peninsulare
D. phlogiflorum
D. politum
D. pronum
D. prostratum
D. pubescens
D. pungens
D. pyramidale
D. ramosum
D. recurvum
D. robustum
D. rosmarinifolium
D. scoparium
D. rubrum
D. saxicola
D. sayeri
D. scoparium
D. secundum
D. setifolium
D. sinclairii
D. squarrosum
D. strictum
D. subulatum
D. tenuicaulis
D. thiebautii
D. townsonii
D. traversii
D. trimorphum
D. uniflorum
D. urvilleanum
D. varium
D. verticillatum
D. vieillardi
D. viride
D. virgatum
D. vulcanicum

Dracophyllum is a genus of plants belonging to the family Ericaceae, formerly Epacridaceae. There are some one hundred or so species in the genus, mostly shrubs but also cushion plants and trees, found in New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia. The name, Dracophyllum or dragon-leaf refers to their strong similarity to the unrelated Dracaena, sometimes known as dragon tree. Although dicotyledonous they resemble primitive monocots with their slender leaves concentrated in clumps at the ends of the branches; they are sometimes called Grass-trees.

The height varies from one centimeter (D. minimum) to about 12 meters (D. longifolium).

Among the New Zealand species are

  • D. arboreum, Tree like growth to 10 m with a distinct juvenile phase. It is found in the Chatham Islands.
  • D. fiordense, Western Otago and Fiordland.
  • D. latifolium, Neinei or Spiderwood. Found throughout the North Island, from Mangonui southwards to North Taranaki and the Mahia peninsula, growing from sea level to 1,100 m (Salmon 1973:271). Usually found growing under kauri.
  • D. lessonianum, Wi-wi, although it can grow up to 10 m high it most frequently is seen as a straggly shrub.
  • D. longifolium, inanga or inaka. Growing to 12 m tall, this is the most widespread species in New Zealand, found from sea level up to 1200 m, in subalpine regions, from the middle of the North Island to as far south as the Auckland Islands.
  • D. mathewsii, D. viride and D. sinclairii are found only in the far north of Tai Tokerau.
  • D. menziesii is a multi branched shrub that grows to 2 m. It grows in high rainfall areas in high montane to sub-alpine herbfields in Western Otago, Fiordland and Stewart Island/Rakiura.
  • D. pyramidale, a very slender, almost fragile tree, growing up to 10 m high. Grows between Great Barrier Island and the Kaimai ranges.
  • D. recurvum, a 1m shrub with curled leaves, found in sub-alpine to high alpine regions of the Central Plateau of the North Island.
  • D. townsonii, very similar to the Neinei, grows mainly in the Nelson area and the West Coast of the South Island.
  • D. traversii, Mountain neinei. Found above 750 m in the top half of the South Island.

Australian Species

  • D. sayeri Grows near the summit of Mount Bellenden Ker Queenslands Second Highest Peak.
  • D. macranthum restricted to the lansdown area near Taree on the NSW coast.
  • D. secundum found in mountainous heath and sheltered lowland gullies on sandstone in the Sydney basin.
  • D. oceanicum from seaside cliffs near Jervis Bay NSW.
  • D. milliganii from the highlands of Tasmania
  • D. minimum Cushion Plant from Tasmanian mountains, also widespread in NZ.


  • 2 new species of Dracopyllum from NSW [1]
  • 'Poole' AL. 1966. Dracophyllum Species, An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
  • 'Venter' S. 2002. Dracophyllum marmoricola and Dracophyllum ophioliticum (Ericaceae), two new species from north-west Nelson, New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Botany, 2002, Vol. 40 : 39–47
  • 'Venter' S. 2004. Dracophyllum mackeeanum (Ericaceae: Richeeae), a new species from New Caledonia, New Zealand Journal of Botany, 2004, Vol. 42: 747–751
  • Salmon J T, The Native Trees of New Zealand, AH & AW Reed, Wellington, New Zealand, 1973. ISBN 0-589-01340-8

External links

  • Flora of New Zealand, Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research Databases
  • Hebe Society
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