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Brachyglottis: Name comes from the Greek words brachus meaning "short" and glottis meaning "the vocal apparatus of the larynx"
repanda: means irregularly undulating or scalloped (describing leaf margins)
rangiora, bushman's toilet paper, bushman's friend
Current Threat Status
2012 - Not Threatened
Previous Threat Status
2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened
Brachyglottis repanda J.R.Forst. et G.Forst.
Common large shrub or sometimes small tree with very large (5-15cm) thin mottled leaves with jagged edges and white underneath. New growth covered in tawny or white fuzz. Flowers small, white or cream, clustered into large conspicuous sprays.
Vascular - Native
Cineraria repanda G.Forst., Senecio georgii Endl. Senecio forsteri Hook.f., Brachyglottis rangiora Buchanan, Brachyglottis rangiora Hort., Brachyglottis repanda var. fragrans D.G.Drury, Brachyglottis repanda J.R.Forst. et G.Forst. var. repanda
Endemic. North Island throughout. South Island - north west Nelson to just south of Greymouth in the west, and near Kekerengu in the east. Naturalised on Banks Peninsula, Otago Peninsula, and on Stewart Island at Oban.
Common in coastal, lowland and lower montane shrubland and open forest. Often a pioneer species.
Shrub to small tree up to 6 m or more tall. Trunk one or more arising from ground, covered in somewhat corky bark. Branches stout, spreading, rather brittle, initially densely clad in fine white to buff tomentum becoming glabrescent with age. Petiole stout, grooved, 80-100 mm long. Leaves leathery, 50-250(-300) X 50-20(-30) mm, dark green to pale green above, undersides clad in fine, appressed vivid white hairs, broad- to ovate-oblong, obtuse to subacute, obliquely cordate to truncate at base, margins distantly dentately lobed to sinuate. Inflorescence a much branched panicle. Capitula 5 mm diam., numerous, without ligules (discoid). Involucral bracts 3 mm long, narrow-oblong to narrow spathulate, margins scarious except at base. Florets 10-12, yellow. Seeds (cypsela) narrowly oblong-elliptic to oblong elliptic, 1-1.8 mm long, ribs 6, rounded, broad. Pappus 2-3 mm, buff-yellow, scabrid.
This shrub is unlikely to be confused with any other indigenous plant, except its close relative the Three Kings endemic B. arborescens. That species differs from B. repanda by its thick corky bark, smaller, saddle-shaped leaves, smaller, less branched panicles, darker sulphur yellow florets, oblong seeds 2-2.3 mm with 12-13 ribs, and longer pappus ((2.5-) 3.5-4.5 mm)).
(July-) August-October (-November)
Main Flower Colour
Other Flower Colour
(October-) November-December (-January)
Very easy from fresh seed and from semi-hardwood or hardwood cuttings. Fast growing but inclined to be short-lived. benefits from a hard prune after flowering.
2n = 60
Where To Buy
Commonly grown and offered by many commericial nurseries and native plant specialist growers. Several variegated forms are now available, as is a purple-leaved cultivar cv. purpurea said to have come from a wild plant on the banks of the Wanganui River.
The large leaves with their white, finely hairy undersides have served a dual purpose for many, as they make excellent toilet paper, and also can be written upon (with a ballpoint pen), thus allowing one to send rather novel letters.
References and further reading
Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309
This page last updated on 10 Dec 2014