Pseudopanax colensoi var. ternatus


Pseudopanax: false cure
colensoi: Named after William Colenso (7 November 1811 - 10 February 1899) who was a Cornish Christian missionary to New Zealand, and also a printer, botanist, explorer and politician.

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

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 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Pseudopanax colensoi var. ternatus Wardle



Brief Description

Small much-branched tree with 3 fleshy leaflets arranged fanwise on a long petiole

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


Neopanax colensoi (Hook.f.) Allan, Nothopanax colensoi (Hook.f.) Seem.


South Island. Apparently absent from Banks Peninsula


50m to 1000 m a.s.l. Cool moist forest and shrubland in damper regions


Us. dioecious. Small multi-branched tree to 8 m tall, branchlets fleshy brittle. Leaves alternate, leaflets 3, palmate, sessile or subsessile on very short petiolules. Petioles 5-20 cm long, sheathing branchlet at base and with small erect stipule. Petiolules absent or very short, of terminal leaflet to 0-3 mm long, shorter on lateral leaflets, pale green. Leaflets narrow-ovate to broadly elliptic-oblong, cuneately narrowed at base, coriaceous, coarsely serrate-dentate in upper 1/2 - 2/3, acute to obtuse; midrib obvious above and below, lateral veins obscure; darker shiny green above; teminal lamina 5-17 x 2-11 cm, lateral leaflets decreasing in size. Inflorescence a terminal umbel; c. 8 primary rays (branchlets); 10-12 secondary rays; umbellules with 5-10 flowers in each. Calyx truncate or obscurely 5-toothed; flowers c. 5 mm diam.; petals 5, cream or greenish, ovate to triangular, acute; ovary 2-loculed, each containing 1 ovules; style branches 2. Fruit fleshy, 4-6 mm diam., style branches retained on an apical disc, dark purple when ripe. Seeds 2 per fruit, obviously wrinkled, 3.5-4.5 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Often confused with Pseudopanax colensoi var. colensoi, which usually has 5 leaflets. Psudopanax discolor also has three leaflets but these are much smaller and thinner. The other varieties of Pseudopanax colensoi are distinguished their number of leaflets and distribution. The presence of a range of forms of probable hybrid arrangement at some sites can make identification difficult at times.



Flower Colours





Not Threatened, but leaflets often eaten by possums (Trichosurus vulpecula)

Chromosome No.

2n = 48

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Notes on taxonomy

For comments on the generic position of this taxon see under Pseudopanax colensoi (see also: Frodin, D.G.; Govaerts, R. 2003: World Checklist and Bibliography of Araliaceae, The Cromwell Press, European Union.)


Description adapted from Wardle (1968), Allan (1961) and Webb and Simpson (2001).

References and further reading

Wardle, P. 1968. The taxonomy and distribution of the stipulate species of Pseudopanax in New Zealand. NZ J. Botany 6: 226-236

Allan, H.H. 1961. Flora of NZ, Vol. I. Government Printer, Wellington

Webb, C.J. &  Simpson, M.J.A. 2001. Seeds of NZ gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Manuka Press, Christchurch.

This page last updated on 8 Jan 2014