Olearia fimbriata


Olearia: Derived from the latinised name (Olearius) of the 17th century German botanist Adam Oelenschlager

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable

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 Vulnerable
2004 - Serious Decline


2012 - PD, RF
2009 - PD, RF


Olearia fimbriata Heads



Brief Description

Rare small tree bearing many erect branches that are squareish in cross-section and with clusters of dark green leaves that are white underneath inhabiting eastern South Island valleys. Leaves 10-17mm long by 4-6mm wide. Flowers small, body has hair-edged scales (lens needed). Seeds fluffy.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


None (firsted described in 1998)


Endemic. South Island (Canterbury, Otago, and Southland).


Lowland to montane shrubland, alluvial flats, and among shattered rocky outcrops.


Semi-deciduous shrub or small tree up to 8 m tall; multistemmed or with a single trunk up to 500 mm diameter. Branchlets 4-angled, pale grey or brown, brachyblasts up to 7 × 2 mm. Leaves of adults opposite or in fascicles on brachyblasts; lamina 10–17 x 4–6 mm, elliptic, broadly elliptic to obovate, dark green above, lower surface tomentose with loose and dull hairs, margin entire, apex obtuse to subacute. Inflorescence solitary or in fascicles of 2–5 capitula on brachyblasts, capitula 4 × 4 mm, sessile or peduncles up to 1 mm long. Involucral bracts 16–25, in 3 series, 1.0–1.5 mm long, lanceolate, apex obtuse or subacute, margins with dense white spreading hairs, surface more or less glabrous. Ray florets 5, 3.0–3.5 mm long, limb 0.5 mm long. Disc florets 8, 3.0–3.5 mm long, corolla lobes 0.5–0.8 mm long, tube 2 mm long, pubescent in a ring just below throat with stiff antrorse hairs and a few hairs on corolla lobes. Achenes 1.0–1.5 mm long, narrow obovate, clad in very short, sparse, stiff antrorse hairs; pappus hairs 2 mm long.

Similar Taxa

O. fimbriata is most easily distinguished from the other small-leaved Olearia species by its elliptic to obovate and dark green leaves and the involucral bracts that have a distinct fringe of hairs and a usually glabrous lower surface. The most similar species is O. odorata, but this is distinguished by leaves that are linear-obovate and with cuneate bases, involucral bracts that are viscid and covered with sessile glandular hairs only, and the corolla having short, sparse and glandular hairs.



Flower Colours




Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and semi-hardwood cuttings. Bets in a sunny, well drained situation. Dislikes humidity.


Although widespread this species is often known from scattered individuals over large parts of its range and at few sites it is actively regenerating. Very few sites are protected.

Chromosome No.

2n = 108

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available


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.

This page last updated on 7 May 2014