Carmichaelia odorata


Carmichaelia: after Carmichael, a botanist
odorata: scented

Common Name(s)

scented broom, leafy broom

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


Carmichaelia odorata Benth.



Brief Description

Shrub with many flattened green twigs in fans. Twigs 1-2mm wide, with wavy edge. Leaves with 1-7 leaflets, scattered along twigs but absent from older branches. Flowers fragrant, pea-like, small, white and purple, clustered in erect short spikes. Fruit a small dry sharp-tipped pod containing 1-3 hard seeds.

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


Carmichaelia pilosa Benth.; Carmichaelia glabrata G.Simpson; Carmichaelia angustata Kirk; Carmichaelia angustata var. pubescens G.Simpson


Endemic. New Zealand: North Island (southern part), South Island (northern and western parts)


Mostly associated with rivers terraces, flats and streams and forest margins.


Shrub, up to 3-8 × 2-3 m. Branches up to 100 mm diameter, ascending and horizontal. Cladodes 40.0-250.0 × 1.0-2.3 mm, erect and spreading, often divaricate, linear, striate, compressed, green, frequently hairy when young, glabrous when mature, apex subacute; leaf nodes 5-19 mm. Leaves 1-7-foliolate, present on seedlings and adults, terminal leaflet larger; lamina 2-13 × l-8(-13) mm, obovate to broad-elliptic, rarely orbicular, fleshy, green, surfaces hairy or glabrous, apex emarginate, base cuneate; petiole 5—25 mm long, glabrous or hairy, green; petiolule < 0.3 mm long, glabrous or hairy, light green. Leaves on cladodes reduced to scales, < 0.8 mm long, broad-triangular, glabrous, apex acute. Stipules c.1 × c.1 mm, free, triangular, upper surface glabrous, lower surface hairy, apex subacute, margin hairy. Inflorescence a raceme, 1 per node, each with 4-40 flowers. Peduncle 4-10 mm long, glabrous, green. Bracts < 0.8 mm long, triangular, glabrous, brown, apex acute to subacute, margins hairy. Pedicel c. 1 mm long, glabrous, green. Bracteoles < 0.5 mm long, at top of pedicel or on receptacle, green and sometimes flushed red, glabrous, apex obtuse, margin hairy. Calyx 1.5-2.0 × 1.0-1.2 mm, campanulate, green, outer surface glabrous. Calyx lobes 0.2-0.3 mm long, triangular, green and usually flushed red, inner surface hairy, appressed to corolla, apex subacute to obtuse. Standard 3.5-4.0 × 2.5-3.5 mm, broad-obovate, patent, positioned towards front of keel, keeled, apex emarginate, margins flattened; central part of inner and outer surfaces purple or red-purple, margins white, sometimes purple-veined; claw c. 1 mm long, pale green. Wings 3.5-4.0 × 0.9-1.1 mm, oblong, similar in length to keel, inner and outer surfaces white, sometimes purple-veined, apex obtuse; auricle 0.2-0.4 mm long, triangular, white, apex obtuse; claw 1.3-1.5 mm long, pale green. Keel 3.5-4 × 1.4-1.7 mm, apex obtuse; distal area of inner surface purple, proximal area white; outer surface white, flushed purple in distal part and sometimes purple-veined; auricle 0.2—0.4 mm long, triangular, white, apex obtuse; claw 1.3-1.5 mm long, pale green. Stamens 3.5-4.0 mm long; dorsal filaments connate for c.7/8 of length, outer stamens free for 0.2-0.5 mm. Pistil 3.7-4.2 mm long, exserted beyond stamens, glabrous; ovules 4-11. Pods 5.0-9.0 × 1.5-.0 mm, oblong, broad-elliptic or ovate, laterally compressed, erect, light grey or brown, valves dehiscent in distal part; beak 1.0-2.5 mm long, stout, pungent-tipped. Seeds 1-3 per pod, 2.0-3.7 × 1.6-2.4 mm, broad-oblong to broad-elliptic, light brown or tan.

Similar Taxa

Allied to Carmichaelia arborea from which it differs in having a longer peduncle and rachis, more, smaller flowers with the keel 3.5-4.0 mm cf. 5-6 mm long, and the standard with obvious red-purple coloration, and smaller pods.


September - February

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White


January - September

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from seed and hardwood cuttings.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 32

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Seeds are possibly dispersed by wind and granivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).


Description from Heenan (1996).

References and further reading

Heenan, P.B. 1996: A taxonomic revision of Carmichaelia (Fabaceae - Galegeae) in New Zealand (part II). New Zealand Journal of Botany 34: 157-177. For full synonymy see this paper.

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 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309

This page last updated on 23 Sep 2014