New Zealand mouse tail Myosurus minimus subsp. novae-zelandiae

Key Features

  • A small, annual, hairless, rosette herb with very narrow leaves, that dies down after flowering. Several flower stalks may be present, up to 10 cm long, each with a terminal spike of tiny flowers. These spikes become dry seed heads up to 8 mm long.

Distribution and Habitat

  • The historic distribution of Myosurus minimus subsp. novae-zelandiae is from Hawkes Bay and Wellington in the North Island, and in the eastern South Island from Marlborough to Southland. Recent records are from Otago and Canterbury.
  • Habitat is mostly ephemeral tarns and flushes and saline patches that become dry and parched in summer, but the species occurs over a wide altitudinal range.


  • Habitat modification and loss.
  • Competition with invasive plants.

Management Opportunities

  • Survey for new locations.
  • Mark known sites.
  • Protection of habitat.
  • Avoid afforestation of known sites.
  • Weed control.

Monitoring Options

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

Further Information and Support

  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN).
  • Weed management - Department of Conservation, Regional Councils.
  • References
    • Rogers, G.; Walker, S.; Tubbs, M. & Henderson, J. (2002). Ecology and conservation status of three “spring annual” herbs in dryland ecosystems of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 40: 649-669.
    • Peter de Lange, Peter Heenan, David Norton, Jeremy Rolfe and John Sawyer (2010). Threatened Plants of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch. 472 pp.