Drymoanthus flavus


flavus: pale yellow

Current Conservation Status

2018 - At Risk - Declining

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

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2009 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Serious Decline


2012 - PD, Sp


Drymoanthus flavus St George et Molloy



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





Endemic to New Zealand. Known from scattered sites in the North Island, from Waitomo, Whirinaki Forest and Te Kopia Geothermal Reserve (Paeroa Range) to Wellington and Palliser Bay. In the South Island sparsely distributed, only becoming more common in southern Otago, Southland and Stewart Island.


A trunk and branch epiphyte of lowland to montane forest.


Diminutive epiphyte of trunks and branches relatively clean of other epiphytic plants. Occasionally found on rock outcrops and cliff faces. Forming branched, leafy, tufts (20-)30-60(-80) mm diameter, with many white to brown, cord-like roots firmly attached to substrate. Leaves (10-)30-50(-70) x (5-)15(-20) mm, green or yellowish green, frequently purple spotted, leathery, elliptic to lanceolate, with acute often twisted tips. Inflorescences racemose, one or more per stem, up to 50 mm long, bearing (1-)2-6(-10) flowers. Flowers at first yellowish-green flecked with purple, maturing yellow. Sepals and petals subequal, spreading widely but projecting forwards and inwards to form a cup. Dorsal sepal 3.5-4 x 1.5 mm, lateral sepals shorter, petals 2.5-3 x 1.5 mm. Labellum 2 x 1.8 mm, projected forwards, immobile, concave, channelled, apex thickened, fleshy, clear yellow, lacking distal lamina calli. Capsule 15 x 5 mm, fusiform, yellowish green and purple spotted.

Similar Taxa

Allied to D. adversus from which it differs by its smaller size; thinner more leathery, elliptic to lanceolate, acute, dull pale green, mostly spotted leaves; yellow flowers; trough-shaped labellum without distal lamina calli; frequently spotted capsules; and by its diploid chromosome number.


October to November

Flower Colours



December to July

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild. Plants can be grown by strapping them to a log, or wood slab and placing them suspended in a sheltered, warm position. Water frequently until well established.


Threatened by indiscriminate plant collectors. With some well known locations stripped bare in recent years.

Chromosome No.

2n = 38

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Minute seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Not commercially available but plants are held by specialist growers.



Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 1 August 2003. Description based on Molloy & St George (1994).

References and further reading

Molloy, B.P.J.; St.George, I. M. 1994: A new species of Drymoanthus (Orchidaceae) from New Zealand, and typification of D. adversus. New Zealand Journal of Botany 32: 415-421.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 10 Sep 2014