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Pimelea: from the Greek pimele, referring to the seeds
longifolia: long leaf
Current Threat Status
2012 - At Risk - Declining
Previous Threat Status
2009 - Data Deficient
2004 - Not Threatened
2012 - PD
Pimelea longifolia Sol. ex Wikstr.
Shrub to 2m tall with reddish twigs bearing pairs of bright green pointed leaves and hairy white flowers inhabiting lowland areas from Auckland to Greymouth. Leaves 40-110mm long by 10-22mm wide. Flowers to 10mm long. Fruit dry, enclosing black seed.
Vascular - Native
Passerina longifolia Sol. ex Thunb.
Endemic. New Zealand: Great Barrier, North (Coromandel Peninsula, Auckland, Kaimai Range, East Cape, Te Urewera and Tararua Ranges) and South Islands (Durville Island, Marlborough Sounds, north-west Nelson, Buller and Paparoa Ranges)
Coastal to montane. Usually in open sites in forest, on forest margins and in scrub; on or near rock outcrops (especially base-rich rock such as limestone and basalt – but also on acidic rocks such as rhyolite).
A much-branched, erect shrub up to 2 m tall. Branches and branchlets ascending, glabrous except at leaf axils and on receptacles. Node buttresses occupy whole internode, smooth, brown, sometimes prominent after leaf fall on small specimens; internodes 8–14 mm long. Bark ages to grey. Leaves decussate, in distant opposite pairs, ascending to patent or deflexed, on petioles 3–5 mm long. Lamina medium green, yellow-green to dark green, stiff, somewhat leathery, very variable in size and shape on the same plant; largest 40–110 × 10–22 mm, elliptic or ovate, sometimes obovate, oblong or lanceolate; flat, acuminate, base cuneate. Margins slightly thickened and down-turned; midvein prominent abaxially, sunken above; lateral vein pattern camptodromus; stomata on undersides only. Inflorescences many-flowered; pedicels 1–2 mm long, persistent. Involucral bracts four, smaller than or sometimes the same size as largest ordinary leaves (20–40 × 8–10 mm). Plants gynodioecious. Flowers hairy on outside; inside hairless; fragrant, white, flushed rose or completely pink, lower tube often red. Calyx lobes open in salverform fashion. Female tube to 10 mm long, ovary portion 4 mm, calyx lobes 3.2 × 1.8 mm; staminodes short, at mouth of tube. Female tube to 15 mm long, ovary portion 3.5 mm, calyx lobes 5 × 2.5 mm. Anther filaments long, inserted at mouth of tube; anthers yellow. Ovary densely hairy at summit. Fruits ovoid, green, drying brown, 5 mm long. Seeds narrow ovoid, 4.0 ×1.8 mm. Dried hypanthia persistant often dispersing with fruits inside.
Very close to P. gnidia (it could be considered as a mostly lowland form of that species) from which it differs by its longer leaves, longer flowers and preference for mostly coastal to lowland habitats. Pimelea gnidia is only coastal in the southern part of its range where P. longifolia is not known. Both species are said to frequently hybridise (see Burrows 2008).
September - April
Main Flower Colour
Other Flower Colour
Red / Pink
November - June
Fickle. Can be grown from cuttings, and occasionally seed germinates in garden conditions. Does best in full sun on a well drained soil. However, even well established plants are prone to sudden collapse.
2n = 36
References and further reading
Burrows, C.J. 2008: Genus Pimelea (Thymelaeaceae) in New Zealand 1. The taxonomic treatment of seven endemic, glabrous-leaved species. New Zealand Journal of Botany 45: 127-176.
This page last updated on 6 Dec 2014