Weinmannia sylvicola


Weinmannia: Named after Johann Wilhelm Weinmann (13 March 1683 - 1741) who was a Germany apothecary and botanist and is noted for his creation of the florilegium Phytanthoza iconographia between 1737 and 1745

Common Name(s)

towai, tawhero

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


Weinmannia sylvicola Sol. ex A.Cunn.



Brief Description

Small tree with a blotched trunk bearing leaves consisting of three bluntly-toothed leaflets (lowest pair much smaller) and spikes of small white bristly flowers inhabiting northern North Island. Leaf stem grooved on top, slightly hairy (lens needed). Juveniles with up to nine pairs of leaflets, reddish underneath.

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


Weinmannia silvicola Sol. ex A.Cunn. orth. var.; Weinmannia silvicola Sol. ex A.Cunn. var. silvicola, Weinmannia silvicola var. betulina (A.Cunn.) Hook.f.


Occurs from Te aki as far as the Waitakere Ranges.


Tree up to 15 metres tall or larger with a trunk up to 1 m. diametre; young branchlets, petioles, peduncles and pedicels ± densely pilose-pubescent. Leaves of seedlings simple to 5-jugate, some pairs trifoliolate, membraneous; leaflets up to 3 × 1 cm., elliptic to elliptic-obovate in outline, incised-serrate. Leaves of juveniles and of reversion shoots up to 10-jugate, membraneous; leaflets ovate-elliptic to elliptic or elliptic-oblong, acute to subacute; terminal lflt up to 8 × 3 cm., on petiolule c. 1 cm. long; lateral subsessile, diminishing downward from 6 × 3 cm. to 2.5 × 2 cm. Leaves of adults of two main forms (intermediate forms not infrequent): (a) leaflets mostly obtuse, 3-5-foliolate, rarely simple, coriaceous., bluntly crenate-serrate to serrate, obovate-oblong to broad-elliptic or elliptic; terminal leaflet 4-6 × 2-3 cm., on petiolule c. 1 cm. long; lateral 4-3 × 2 cm.;- (b) leaves 3-5-foliolate, rarely simple, coriaceous, leaflets mostly acute to subacute, serrate to crenate-serrate, elliptic; terminal leaflet 4-7 × 2-3 cm., lateral 7-4 × 3-2 cm. Racemes 8-12 cm. long, many-flowered, pedicels 2-3 mm. long, numerous axis; sepals c. 1 mm. long, narrow-ovate to subulate-obtuse, persistent; petals c. 1·5 cm. long, ovate to oblong, white to pale rose; stamens exserted; styles 2.5-4 mm. long, persistent. Capsules 4-5 cm. long, glab. or nearly so; seeds with tuft of hairs at apex and base.

Similar Taxa

The juvenile foliage is similar to that of Ackama rosifolia. It can be distinguished by the lack of domatia on the underside of the leaves. Towai also has narrow, linear stipules that fall off early.

Flower Colours



Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 30

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Taxonomic notes

Weinmannia sylvicola var. betulina is not regarded as distinct from W. sylvicola by the NZPCN as the characters attributed to it occur sporadically throughout the range of W. sylvicola s.s. However, it is true that in some more southerly populations the form known as var. betulina can be dominant.

Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Weinmannia sylvicola Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=1369 (Date website was queried)


Fact Sheet prepared by P. J. de Lange 17 November 2011: Description adapted from Allan (1961)

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Goverment Printer, Wellington.

McKenzie, R. 1960. The distributional overlap of Weinmannia sylvicola and Weinmannia racemosa. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 17: 7-8

This page last updated on 27 Oct 2017