Olearia hectorii


Olearia: Derived from the latinised name (Olearius) of the 17th century German botanist Adam Oelenschlager
hectorii: Named after Sir James Hector, 19th century New Zealand geologist and botanist who was originally from Scotland

Common Name(s)

Deciduous tree daisy, Hectors tree daisy

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered
2004 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable


2012 - CD, De, RF
2009 - CD, De, RF


Olearia hectorii Hook.f.



Brief Description

Rare small-leaved shrub with wide-angled grooved reddish stems bearing clusters of thin grey-green leaves inhabiting river valleys of the eastern South Island. Leaves 20-50mm long by 5-20mm wide. Flowers small, yellowish, on drooping 15mm long stalks, in small groups at base of leaves. Seeds fuzzy.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs




Endemic. Eastern South Island.


Lowland to subalpine often at the base of steep hills on colluvium, or on alluvium in situations affected by flooding, debris avalanching, water-logging, drought and/or frost.


Deciduous shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall. Trunk up to 1 m diam., bark thick, somewhat corky, grey, persistent, deeply marked with longitudinal furrows. Branches one to many, often spreading. Branchlets slender, grooved, glabrescent; bark red, red-brown to bronze-red. Adult leaves 2-4 on short shoots or widely spaced along fast growing branchlets; petioles 5 mm, slender; leaf lamina 20-50 x 5-20 mm, grey-green to green above, silvery-grey beneath, narrow-oblong, oblong-ovate to broadly-ovate, undersides clad in silvery tomentum, upper surface glabrescent; lamina margins flat and entire. Capitula in fascicles of 2-6, 5 x 5 mm; pedicels slender, silky hairy, 15 mm long. Florets 20-25, pale yellow, ray-florets 10-15, narrow, rather short, disc florets 10-15. Phyllaries in 2 series, weakly imbricate, oblong, obtuse, exposed surface pilose hairy. Achenes 1-2 mm, narrow-obovate. Pappus-hairs 3-5 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Olearia odorata Petrie and O. fragrantissima Petrie are superficially similar to O. hectorii. From those species O. hectorii can be distinguished by the leaves which are opposite and by its straight branchlets. O. fragrantissima has alternate leaves and zigzag twig stems, while O. odorata has narrower, smaller leaves lacking leaf stalks, and is usually a shrub, rarely a small tree. The North Island O. gardneri Heads, though similar differs by the broadly deltoid, truncate, rather than oblanceolate juvenile leaves, by the smaller, distinctly less hairy adult leaves, white rather than yellow flowers, and narrowly lanceolate, toothed, finely hairy phyllaries (bracts surrounding the flowers). The phyllary hairs are long and wavy.


October - December

Flower Colours



December - February

Propagation Technique

Can be grown from fresh seed and semi-hardwood cuttings. The strike rate of these can be variable, and best results are obtained from cuttings taken after leaf fall in autumn, and kept in a cold frame over winter


This species is seriously threatened by recruitment failure. The seed of this species requires open sites to germinate in, and in most places such sites are scarce due to the presence of introduced grasses and herbs. Very few O. hectorii populations occur on protected land, and many are now dominated by old senescent trees. This species is also susceptible to browsing animals, and because of the dynamic habitats it occupies floods and slips once so critical for this species regeneration is now a serious threat. Isolated plants produce little viable seed.

Chromosome No.

2n = 108

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Sold by some specialist native plant nurseries. Can be purchased from Oratia Native Plant Nurseries (info@oratia natives.co.nz).


Published as hectori but hectorii is correct under the ICBN (International Code of Botanical Nomenclature).

Watch the Video

Olearia hectori - watch the TVNZ - Meet the Locals (DOC)  


Fact Sheet prepared for the NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 14 April 2006. Description by P.B Heenan (adapted from Heads (1998) and subsequently published in de Lange et al. (2010).

References and further reading

de Lange, P.J.; Heenan, P.B.; Norton, D.A.; Rolfe, J.R.; Sawyer, J.W.D. 2010: Threatened Plants of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.

Heads, M. 1998. Biodiversity in the New Zealand divaricating tree daisies: Olearia sect. nov. (Compositae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 127(3): 239-285.

Hooker, J.D. 1864. Handbook of the New Zealand Flora: a systematic description of the native plants of New Zealand and the Chatham, Kermadec's, Lord Auckland's, Campbell's and Macquarie's Islands.Part I ed. London, Reeve. 392 p.


This page last updated on 7 May 2014