Flowers of New Zealand

New Zealand Fauna and flower info


Native Forest Action
Project Crimson - saving our Pohutukawas 
The New Zealand Garden at Ventnor Botanic Gardens, Isle of Wight, UK.
New Zealand Native Trees
New Zealand Plant Conservation Network

The New Zealand flower industry takes one to its ancient Maori population who cultivated native plants to serve medicinal purposes as well as to maintain the decorum. It also reminds one of Britishers of 19th century, who sowed the seeds of love towards Botany in the minds of these island dwellers. Nevertheless, they created a bit of similarity among the countries under their rule such as India, Africa and also the East.

As the years passed by, modern technology came into being and led the floriculture industry to flourish by leaps and bounds. Also, as New Zealand is the powerhouse of clean air, water, and light, one gets to see a wide spectrum of flowers.

Research on biology of flowers began in New Zealand in early 1870s with Darwin’s work on orchids, but it descended by 1950s. The main flowering periods are spring and summer, but some species, particularly blossom in winter. Overall, 1800 species exist. 12-13% is dioecious, 2% are gynodioecious and 9% are monoecious. However, unisexuality is not unique to flowers in New Zealand. Around 649 species having fascinating flowers gives 60.6% white, 17.2% yellow, 12.4% blue lilac or dark purple, 5.7% red to crimson, and 4% green.

Honey characteristics

The peculiar characteristic of nectar and honey drew from native flowers is that it causes bee poisoning. Pollinators available are birds, bats, butterflies, bees. Some species of moths, beetles, flies and newly introduced bees facilitate pollination. The common perception consists of widespread self-fertility in hermaphrodite plants, complemented by various insect visitors.

A series of New Zealand plants produce small and inconspicuous flowers. Most of the flowers have a white or greenish color. Coprosma is an example of these.


It is amongst the 90 species found in New Zealand. Many of these species are small shrubs containing evergreen leaves and some of them are miniature trees with larger leaves. The flowers are identified by insignificant petals. Small, non-poisonous berry is the specialty of Coprosma. It can be orange, dark red or even light blue in colour. It contains two tiny seeds, from which coffee can be made. Coprosma stands out from other plants in the sense that the axils of the veins of leaves are hollow and nitrogen-fixing bacteria thrive on leaf-stipules.

Calystegia sepium

This flowering plant is herbaceous perennial, which entangles around other plants in an anti-clockwise direction. Its average height is about 2-4 m, at times 5 m as well. The leaves are spirally arranged, arrowhead-shaped, having length of 5-10 cm and breadth of 3-7 cm. The flowering occurs between late spring and end of summer. In the embryo stage, flowers, along with sepals, possess a covering of large bracts. One gets to see the trumpet-shaped flower, with diameter of 3-7 cm mostly white or pale-pink having white stripes. The fruit is a 1 cm diameter capsule with black seeds, shaped like quartered oranges. There is another species called alpine flora where flowers are white or cream colored. There are 24 species of gentians, crystal white or streaked.


This picture of a Protea is grown and native to New Zealand this flower is also native to the Hawaiian islands and is cultivated on the Big island
Hawaii flower thats also from new Zealand

In mid-summer, red-colored flowers such as pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa), southern rata (M. umbellata), and kowhais (Sophora species) are obtained. The winter-specific flowering plants include Neopanax arboretum, having unisexual flowers and Vitex lucens having red flowers. Most of the species of two genera Clematis and Rubus have the feature of being dioecious; also Cotula and Bulbinella have this habit.

Causes of deforestation

Biodiversity has been declining worldwide. New Zealand is no exception. Many of the flowers of New Zealand are endemic; hence, they should be protected before they reach the stage of extinction. Many new plants are proving to be a potential threat to the indigenous plants. Not only that, plant and animal pests are multiplying day by day, hence, their distribution is also increasing. They are obstructing the growth of indigenous plants every now and then.

Methods of Conservation

Numerous methods are being implemented to strike the ecological balance nowadays. Legislation, space management, and public opinion based on ideals of preservation have been exercised off late to restore the natural vegetation. National Zoological parks are being set up with utmost security measures. No person is allowed to touch or cause any other harm to plants. The national Parks Act, 1980 has been put into practice stating that ‘Preservation of natural vegetation of New Zealand is in National interest’. Also, management of threatened species, evacuation of islands and proper pest control can be tried out as effective measures. Sustainability, too, should be taken into consideration so that, accordingly, right decision is taken in terms of the right plant. A tremendous understanding of pros of conservation versus life span, budget regarding pest-control, need for afforestation, active participation of localities, especially the Maoris is required. The vagaries of nature need to be challenged too.

Planting with New Zealand Natives

A database of NZ plant photos

Forest Floor - Grow more trees

Tree Fern Discussion Group
Native plants in Coehaven - Otaki
Tree Ferns Downunder
The NZ West Coast Fern Co.
NZ Horticulture Online - native plants & forum
Forest Fungi of New Zealand



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