of New Zealand
Alpine Plants of New Zealand
ISBN 0 7900 0525 5
by kind permission of the author, Lawrie Metcalf and Reed Publishing
Publication or other use of images or descriptive
text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is
obtained from the author and publisher. Appropriate acknowledgement
of the publication Alpine Plants of New Zealand must always
Available from Touchwood
- A tufted perennial
herb, 10-15 cm tall, arising from a rather stout, single or branched
- Leaves: Each
rootstock or branch has a tuft or rosette of numerous, thick to
almost fleshy, overlapping leaves. Leaf blade 1-1.5 cm long by
5-7 mm wide, bright to deep green and shining above.
White, 1.5-1.8 cm long, produced singly or in two- to six-flowered
Two forms are
- Typical form.
- var. australis:
Differs mainly in its stouter habit of growth and larger flowers.
It often forms dense, low patches 6-12 cm across, and the abundantly
produced flowers are up to 2.5 cm in diameter.
- North and South Islands
in subalpine to high alpine regions from Mt Hikurangi southwards;
widespread but often local. 600-1800 metres.
- Usually occurs in
damp grasslands, herbfields and boggy places.
- var. australis
is confined to high alpine regions of the South Island mainly
about and west of the main divide. It occurs mainly in fellfields,
on rock faces and on bluffs.
Of the 24 or so native species of gentian this is one of the finest
as well as one of the most commonly seen. The almost fleshy leaves,
with deep green and shining upper surfaces, and the prominent
heads of quite large flowers are usually sufficient to identify
Typical form between January and March; var. australis
during February and March. Depending on the season flowering
may continue into April.