Muehlenbeckia axillaris (Creeping Wire Vine)

Last Modified: 15-5-2022 20:35

Muehlenbeckia axillaris
Muehlenbeckia axillaris
© Christopher Cookson  License this image

Muehlenbeckia axillaris (Creeping Wire Vine) is a mat forming shrub found in riverbeds and rocky areas of the South Island and lower North Island. In addition to being native to New Zealand, it is also found in Tasmania and Australia. M. axillaris only grows a few centimetres high, but can spread out into a mat up to about two metres diameter. The small white transluscent fruit are attractive to birds. It is highly resistant to wind and drought, enabling it to colonise a range of challenging environments. M. axillaris has small, oval leaves less than a cemtimetre long, and wiry reddish brown stems. M. axillaris has some superficial resemblence to M. complexa (scrambling pohuehue) which it can hybridise with, however it does not climb over other trees and shrubs like M. complexa, and is restricted to a low creeping habit. Like other Muehlenbeckia species, M. axillaris is a host species for the larvae of New Zealand's native copper butterflies.

It is available from many garden centres for use as a hardy ground cover in rock gardens.

This example was observed on the Wairau riverbed at Kowhai Point.

Image Date: 26/3/2022

Photographer: Christopher Cookson

Location: Latitude: -41.710163 Longitude: 173.113846

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