Native Trees and Shrubs of Marlborough

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Marlborough's diverse geography and climate supports a variety of native trees and shrubs, some found only within the region, while there are also local examples of many species found throughout New Zealand. Prior to the arrival of humans, most of Marlborough was forested, however with the arrival of the first humans from Polynesia, areas of forest in the east were burnt, and on the later arrival of Europeans, extensive forest clearing occured in many areas that remained forested.

Mixed beech and podocarp forest are found in wetter parts of the Marlborough Sounds, undisturbed parts of the Pelorus valley, and the Richmond Range. In the upper Wairau and some of its tributaries, there are areas of beech forest. In south east Marlborough dry shrubland is the main form of native vegetation. Coastal forest with a variety of species can be found in parts of the Sounds and on some islands.

A number of shrubs are unique to Marlborough, including several native broom species, and Marlborough is the natural southern limit of a number of species found elsewhere in New Zealand.

Akeake (Dodonaea viscosa)

Akeake (Dodonaea viscosa)

Akeake (Dodonaea viscosa) is a native tree or shrub with particularly hard wood, found throughout New Zealand.

Beech forest on the Queen Charlotte Track


Indigenous beech forests are a unique part of the New Zealand landscape. Significant parts of Marlborough retain their original forest cover.

Griselinia littoralis (Broadleaf, Kapuka)

Broadleaf / Kapuka (Griselinia littoralis)

Broadleaf or Kapuaka (Griselinia littoralis) is a common native tree found throughout New Zealand, with oval leathery leaves.

Cabbage trees in flower on the Wither Hills

Cabbage Tree

The ubiquitous cabbage tree is found throughout NZ. In Marlborough, it is particularly common in many of the drier parts of the region.

Climbing Rātā (Metrosideros perforata)

Climbing Rātā (Metrosideros perforata)

Climbing Rātā (Metrosideros perforata) is a climbing vine endemic to New Zealand.

Coprosma atropurpurea

Coprosma atropurpurea

Coprosma atropurpurea is an extremely low growing, inconspicuous plant found in open areas of high country throughout New Zealand.

Pseudopanax arboreus

Fivefinger, Whauwhaupaku (Pseudopanax arboreus)

Fivefinger, Whauwhaupaku (Pseudopanax arboreus) is a common small tree endemic to New Zealand, identifiable by its distinctive leaves and seeds.

Helichrysum parvifolium

Helichrysum parvifolium

Helichrysum parvifolium is a small bushy shrub, endemic to New Zealand found in mountainous areas in the north of the South Island, particularly in Marlborough and Nelson.

Kahikatea forest at Onamalutu


Kahikatea or white pine is a member of the Podocarp family and New Zealand's tallest tree. It was once widespread throughout lowland Marlborough.

Kanono (Coprosma grandifolia)

Kanono (Coprosma grandifolia)

Kanono (Coprosma grandifolia) is the largest leaved species of Coprosma, a genus of shrubs and small trees endemic to New Zealand.

Kānuka (Kunzea ericoides)


Kānuka is a common tree endemic to New Zealand, tolerant of a wide range of conditions and found throughout the country.


Karaka (Corynocarpus laevigatus)

Karaka is a small tree found in coastal forests in frost free areas throughout New Zealand, distinctive for its large glossy waxy leaves and orange berries.

Karamū (Coprosma robusta)

Karamū (Coprosma robusta)

Karamū (Coprosma robusta) is a fast growing shrub to small tree with large, shiny leaves, and small, bright orange berries.

Kawakawa (Piper excelsum)

Kawakawa (Piper excelsum)

Kawakawa (Piper excelsum) is a New Zealand endemic shrub or small tree found particularly in coastal areas.

Koromiko (Hebe salicifolia)

Koromiko is a common native shrub growing to 2-3m found throughout the South Island. It is an important plant in Māori medicine.


Mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium)

Mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium) is a common New Zealand native shrub or small tree, producing a distinctive honey valued for medicinal properties.

Māhoe / whitey wood (Melicytus ramiflorus)

Māhoe / whitey wood (Melicytus ramiflorus)

Melicytus ramiflorus, Māhoe or whitey wood is a small, common, endemic tree found throughout Marlborough.

Matagouri detail with flowers

Matagouri (Discaria toumatou)

Matagouri (Discaria toumatou) is New Zealand's only endemic plant with thorns, common in tussock grasslands of the South Island, particularly east of the Main Divide.

Muehlenbeckia axillaris

Muehlenbeckia axillaris (Creeping Wire Vine)

Muehlenbeckia axillaris (Creeping Wire Vine) is a native mat forming shrub found in riverbeds and rocky areas of the South Island and lower North Island.

Muehlenbeckia complexa

Muehlenbeckia complexa (Scrambling pohuehue)

Muehlenbeckia complexa is a semi-deciduous native vine found throughout New Zealand.

Young nīkau on Queen Charlotte Track

Nikau Palm

The Nīkau Palm (Phopalostylis sapida) is the world's southernmost, and New Zealand's only palm species, and can be found in parts of the Marlborough Sounds

Patotara (Leucopogon fraseri)


Patotara is a small shrub endemic to New Zealand, found throughout the country from coastal to alpine regions.

Pink Broom

Carmichaelia carmichaeliae is one of several indigenous broom species found naturally only in Marlborough.

Poroporo (Solanum laciniatum)


Poroporo is a native shrub in the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, found throughout New Zealand

Prickly mingimingi

Prickly mingimingi (Leptecophylla juniperina)

Prickly mingimingi is a common shrub found throughout New Zealand and Tasmania.

Puawhananga (Clematis paniculata)

Puawhananga (Clematis paniculata)

Puawānanga (Clematis paniculata) is a Clematis species endemic to New Zealand, found from coastal to montane regions throughout the country in shrubland and forest.

Marlborough Rock Daisy (Pachystegia insignis)

Marlborough Rock Daisy

Marlborough's iconic daisy is a tenacious shrubby plant with magnificent daisy flowers, often found clinging to sheer rock faces throughout Marlborough.

Phyllocladus trichomanoides (Tanekaha)

Tanekaha/Celery Pine(Phyllocladus trichomanoides)

Tanekaha/Celery Pine(Phyllocladus trichomanoides) is a member of the Podocarp family found throughout the North Island to the north of the South Island of New Zealand.

Tauhinu (Ozothamnus leptophyllus)

Tauhinu (Ozothamnus leptophyllus)

Tauhinu (Ozothamnus leptophyllus) is a common New Zealand native shrub with small silvery grey leaves, common in sunny and dry habitats.

Coprosma repens / Taupata

Taupata (Coprosma repens)

Coprosma repens or Taupata is a tough coastal shrub endemic to New Zealand able to withstand wind and salt spray, and is able to survive with little soil.


A rare Hebe species found in the Marlborough region

Chordospartium Broom Flowers

Weeping Broom

Chordospartium stevensonii is an endemic tree broom with pink flowers, found naturally only in eastern Marlborough, but popular as a garden plant internationally.