Earina aestivalis


Earina: springtime
aestivalis: pertaining to summer

Common Name(s)

bamboo orchid, summer earina

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


Earina aestivalis Cheeseman



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. North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands.


Coastal forest, where it is usually a low epiphyte on tree trunks and branches. Occasionally found on cliff faces and rock outcrops


Epiphytic or rupestral, rhizomatous, perennial, producing numerous leafy, unbranched, long persistent, wiry, cane-like stems up to 600 mm long. Rhizomes extensive, much intertwined and firmly attached to substrate, fleshy, more or less spongy, initially creamy white maturing buff-yellow. Leaf-sheaths imbricating, persistent, distichously arranged, 5-12 mm long, 4-8 mm diameter, not split, tubular, flattened, each overlapping with and covering the lower third to one half of the leaf-sheath above, exposed surface ivory to pale whitish-yellow, distinctly dark maculate with broad, long oblong to oblong-ovoid dark purple-black spots. Leaf-sheath junction with leaf lamina distinctly flared. Leaves weakly flexuose scarcely curved in upper portion; lamina short-lived, disarticulating at leaf-sheath junction, prominent 3-nerved, 60-100 x 6-8 mm, green to dark green, lanceolate, tapering in upper third gradually to an acute, minutely acicular tip; lateral veins conspicuous, midrib of upper lamina deeply and prominently channelled. Inflorescence a racemose panicle. Panicle up to 80 mm long, mostly pendulous; racemes 2-8, usually well spaced on fine, slender, wiry axis, each 20-40 mm long; floral bracts c. 4.0-4.5 mm long, scarcely overlapping, prominently longitudinally ridged, completely covering the very short pedicels. Perianth 10-14 mm diameter, opening widely (flaring), pale, slightly greenish-cream to greenish yellow. Sepals elliptic, subacute. Petals slightly broader and more obtuse. Labellum broader and very conspicuous, yellow-orange to deep apricot, flaring widely at flowering, broadly oblong with broader proximal portion connect by a narrow waist-like neck to the almost equally broad distal lobe; base with two inconspicuous ridges leading down to a small pit-like nectary. Column shorter than labellum, narrow to base, wings absent or minute, pollinia long-oval. Capsules elliptic-ovoid, ovoid, deeply, longitudinally grooved, yellow green to green maturing grey.

Similar Taxa

Earina mucronata Lindl., from which E. aestivalis differs by its shorter stems, flaring and broader leaf-sheaths, and distinctly broader leaves, broad, prominently deeply depressed and channelled, midrib, larger oblong to oblong-ovoid dark purple spotting along the stem, larger and fewer flowers, generally longer column, and by its later flowering time (usually late summer, rather than spring to early summer) Some people maintain that E. aestivalis flowers are fragrant while E. mucronata are not. No clear distinction is evident.


December - March

Flower Colours



January - August

Propagation Technique

Can be grown from the division of established plants. Rooted pieces should be strapped to a log, fern trunk or wood slab and suspended in a sheltered, warm position. Water frequently until well established. Should not be removed from the wild.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 40, 41

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Where To Buy

Occasionally offered by specialist native plant nurseries


Chatham Island plants are problematic. They seem to grade into E. mucronata Elsewhere this species seems reasonably distinctive. However, further study into the status of this species is needed.


Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 14 April 2007. Description based on herbarium and fresh material - see also de Lange et al. (2007)

References and further reading

de Lange, P.; Rolfe, J. St George, I. Sawyer J. 2007: Wild orchids of the lower North Island. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

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 9 Dec 2014