Fierce lancewood Pseudopanax ferox

Key Features

  • Striking juvenile form with a usually single upright trunk up to 3-6 m tall, with downward-pointing, long, narrow, and tough leaves that have irregular blunt bumps along their edges.
  • The adult form develops branches once it reaches 3-6 m tall and forms a branched, rounded head up to 8 m tall, bearing long, narrow, and leathery leaves that have a few teeth on the margin towards the tip.
  • The purple fruit are 8-9 mm wide.

Distribution and Habitat

  • Patchy distribution in North Island, but more widespread in eastern South Island.
  • Coastal to subalpine (10-800 m above sea level).
  • In coastal and lowland forest, grey scrub, on recent alluvial coarse gravels, limestone outcrops, boulder fall, cliff faces, talus slopes and scarps, and in seasonally drought-prone, but otherwise cold and wet, alluvial forests.


  • Possum, deer and goat browse.
  • Collection of seeds and plants.
  • Potential hybridisation with P. lessonii at several northern populations.

Management Opportunities

  • Survey for new locations.
  • Mark known sites.
  • Protect habitat.
  • Collect seed, propagate, and reintroduce to appropriate sites.
  • Pest animal control.
  • 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.

Further Information and Support

  • Weed and pest animal control - Department of Conservation, Regional Councils.


  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN).
  • Poole & Adams (1994). Trees and shrubs of New Zealand. Maanaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.