White mistletoe Tupeia antarctica

Key Features

  • A shrubby parasite to 1 m diameter, with narrow-oblong bright green leaves 2-6 cm long, that are arranged in opposite pairs.
  • Flowers are much smaller than in red or scarlet mistletoe, and change colour from yellow to orange as they age.
  • Flowers occur in clusters of 2-11 and give rise to small, egg-shaped, white, yellow, pink or red fruits.

Distribution and Habitat

  • Throughout New Zealand but with a predominantly eastern distribution.
  • Often in secondary vegetation where a range of short-lived native and exotic species act as hosts, including marbleleaf, broom, and species of Coprosma, Pittosporum, and Pseudopanax.


  • Habitat modification and loss.
  • Possum browse.
  • Decline of birds (chiefly bellbird and tui) associated with pollination and dispersal.
  • Fungal disease.

Management Opportunities

  • Survey for new locations.
  • Mark known sites.
  • Protection of habitat.
  • Enhance habitat for bellbirds and tui (e.g. by planting nectar-producing species such as flax and kowhai).
  • Possum control by poisoning or trapping, caging plants or banding host trees.
  • 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). http://www.nzpcn.org.nz
  • 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.