Illustrated Guide to
of New Zealand
Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
Zealand Plant Protection Society
Publication or other use of images or descriptive
text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is
obtained from the authors and publisher.
of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always
Available from Touchwood
woody, evergreen perennial shrub up to 50 cm tall. Small, pale purple,
bell-shaped flowers in summer make dense stands of the plant very
attractive. Small, stalkless leaves in four vertical rows on the
branches. Especially common, and a major problem, in National Parks.
- Flowers Pale
purple, bell-shaped corolla of four petals joined into a tube
about 2 mm in diameter. The four purple sepals, 2-4 mm long, are
longer than the corolla. The flowers are on a narrow, leafy raceme
up to 9 cm long, growing in leaf axils on the upper shoots. Flowers
- Fruit Tiny,
hairy, round capsules with four cells. Seeds strongly-meshed,
up to 0.7 mm long.
- Leaves Oblong,
up to 3.5 mm long, hairless but sometimes downy, overlap in four
vertical rows on the twigs. They are dark green, but later turn
- Stems Wiry,
pliable, woody. Young growth initially densely hairy, later becoming
Poor undeveloped grassland
on acid soils.
Common on pumice soils
of Volcanic Plateau and at Te Aroha and Mt. Egmont National Park
in NI. In SI at Hokitika, Mt. Cook, Queenstown and Te Anau, and
on Campbell Island. Originally from Europe, Asia Minor and north
Often cultivated in
gardens by early settlers, it was deliberately planted at one
time in Tongariro National Park, and established well. Efforts
have been made to introduce biological control agents, so far
without success. Subject to Pest Plant Management Strategies in
several regions of NZ. Listed on the National
Pest Plant Accord (see Introduction for details).
Bell heather (Erica
cinerea) is well established in Tongariro National Park,
also Opotiki and South Canterbury, distinguished by needle-like
leaves in whorls of four, and larger, 6 mm long, bell-shaped flowers.
Berry heath (Erica baccans) is occasionally found from
Kaitaia to north of Kaipara Harbour, and on Great Barrier Island.
Its leaves are in whorls of four, and it is distinguished from
bell heather by the ridges and depressions of the corolla tube.
Tree heath (Erica arborea) can form a small tree up to
5 m tall, with densely hairy shoots, and white flowers, 2.5-4
mm long. Occurs in scrub and low forest, especially near roadsides,
scattered in NI from Auckland southwards, also in Nelson, Dunedin.
Hedge heath (Erica caffra) is a woolly hairy shrub, with
fragrant, white to pinkish flowers that are 5.5-7 mm long. Occurs
in hillside scrub in Auckland, Te Aroha (Waikato), Athenree (Bay
of Plenty) and Wellington.
of botanical name
= to cleanse, since it was once used for making brooms; vulgaris
(Lat.) = common.