Melicytus flexuosus

Key Features

  • A shrub to 5 m tall, with interlaced, more or less leafless, grey-green, whiplike branches.
  • Branchlet surfaces are covered in small, white pits.
  • Leaves, if present, are linear, about 1-2 cm long, and may be slightly toothed.
  • Flowers are small, (2-3 mm) yellow, and fragrant.

Distribution and Habitat

  • Central North Island, widespread in the South Island.
  • Forest margins or in shrublands on fertile, frosty or droughty valley floor sites.


  • Habitat modification and loss.
  • Recruitment failure due to competition with weeds and grasses, and browse by stock, rabbits and hares.
  • Fire.

Management Opportunities

  • Survey for new locations.
  • Mark known sites.
  • Protection of habitat – avoid afforestation of known sites.
  • Collect seed for propagation and re-establishment at appropriate sites.
  • Ensure that forest owners are aware of potential habitats and can recognise the species.

Monitoring Options

  • Check existing populations annually
  • Report new locations to DOC, NZPCN

Further Information and Support

  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN).
  • Pest control - Department of Conservation, Regional Councils.
  • References
    • Dopson et al. (1999). The conservation requirements of New Zealand’s nationally threatened vascular plants. Threatened Species Occasional Publication 13. Department of Conservation, Wellington.
    • Poole & Adams (1994). Trees and shrubs of New Zealand. Maanaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
    • Wilson & Galloway (1993). Small-leaved shrubs of New Zealand. Manuka Press, Christchurch.
    • Wilson & Given (1989). Threatened plants of New Zealand. DSIR Publishing, Wellington.
    • Molloy, B.P.J. and Druce, A.P. (1994). A new species name in Melicytus (Violaceae) from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany32: 113–11 8.