Sand daphne Pimelea villosa

Key Features

  • A low growing shrub of coastal sand dunes with spreading branches and erect branchlets.
  • 1-2 cm long leaves that have shiny hairs on their undersides, and are arranged in four rows along the stem.
  • Small, white flowers are clustered at the ends of branchlets and result in white or red fruits.
  • As noted on the NZPCN website (accessed November 2016) the taxonomy of Pimelea villosa is unsatisfactory and further research is required. Therefore a broad concept of P. villosa is applied here that includes P. villosa subsp. villosa and P. villosa subsp. arenaria.

Distribution and Habitat

  • Coastal sand dunes throughout New Zealand, but decreasing and with gaps in its former range.


  • Habitat modification and loss.
  • Competition from marram grass.
  • Browsing of seedlings by possums.
  • Damage from vehicle traffic.
  • Seed predation by rodents.

Management Opportunities

  • Survey for new locations.
  • Mark known sites.
  • Protection of habitat.
  • Keep marram grass clear of sites where sand daphne is growing.
  • Collect seed and propagate for re-establishment in appropriate sites.
  • Ensure that forest owners to dune forests 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).
  • References:
    • Wilson & Galloway (1993). Small-leaved shrubs of New Zealand. Manuka Press, Christchurch.
    • Poole & Adams (1994). Trees and shrubs of New Zealand. Maanaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.