Discaria toumatou


Discaria: disc bearing
toumatou: Derived from the Maori name tumamatakuru.

Common Name(s)


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 - Not Threatened
2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Discaria toumatou Raoul



Brief Description

Spiky grey shrub with many zig-zagging long flexible twigs bearing long (up to 5cm long) green spines interspersed with small oval dark green leaves. Bark rough, broken into squares. Leaves 10-20mm long. Flowers small, white, inconspicuous. Fruit a dry, 3 sided capsule.

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




Endemic. North and South Islands. In the North Island known from near Waiuku south to the southern Wairarapa and Wellington coastline. Very uncommon in the North Island. In the South Island mainly east of the main divide, appearing to avoid areas of high rainfall

Flower Colours


Propagation Technique

Easy from seed. Can be grown from cuttings but these can be slow to strike. Rather variable, and some North Island sand dune forms are entirely prostrate, forming trailing shrubs. An excellent hedge plant, with the added bonus that this species fixes atmospheric nitrogen, making it available for other plants.


Not Threatened for most of its range. However, very uncommon and under threat throughout the North Island, where it is now known from very few sites and viable populations.

Chromosome No.

2n = 22

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Seeds are dispersed by ballistic projection and water (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.

References and further reading

Chrystall, L. 1976. Further record of matagouri in the North Island. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin, 39: 47

Duguid, F. 1976. Matagouri at Herbertville. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin, 39: 45

Elder, N.L. 1966. Matagouri in the North Island. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin, 33: 5

Elder, N.L. 1967. Matagouri in the North Island - Part 2. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin, 34: 19-20

Moorfield, J. C. (2005). Te aka : Maori-English, English-Maori dictionary and index.  Pearson Longman:  Auckland, N.Z.

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 14 Aug 2014