Geothermal kānuka Kunzea tenuicaulis

Key Features

  • Geothermal kānuka is a shrub or small, much-branched tree inhabiting geothermal areas of the Taupo Volcanic Zone.
  • The grey bark is loose and flakes readily into small irregular shards.
  • Branches are sinuous and slender.
  • Branchlets are numerous, slender, and often pendulous, with young stems copiously covered in short erect hairs.
  • Leaves are numerous and up to 10 mm long (usually much less).
  • Early flowering, flowers white, up to 9 mm diameter, borne in dense clusters.
  • The fruit is a small dry capsule 1.0–3.3 × 1.6–3.2 mm.

Distribution and Habitat

  • Endemic to geothermal sites in the North Island and their immediate surroundings from Kawerau south to Tokaanu.


  • Habitat modification and loss.
  • Weeds such as wilding conifers and blackberry shading geothermal habitat.
  • The potential effects of myrtle rust on this species is unknown.
  • Fire and land clearance.
  • Changes to geothermal fields as a result of energy extraction.

Management Opportunities

  • Survey geothermal areas to assess botanical values present and provide information to landowners.
  • Monitor populations.
  • Protection of habitat.
  • Ensure that forest owners are aware of potential habitats and can recognise the species.

Monitoring Options

  • Check existing populations on a regular basis e.g. annually.
  • Report new locations to DOC.
  • Further Information and Support
  • Weed control - Department of Conservation, Regional Councils.


  • de Lange P.J (2014). A revision of the New Zealand Kunzea ericoides (Myrtaceae) complex. PhytoKeys 40: 1–185.
  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN).