Drymoanthus adversus


adversus: turned towards or opposite

Common Name(s)


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


Drymoanthus adversus (Hook.f.) Dockrill



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



Sarcochilus adversus Hook.f.; Sarcochilus breviscapa Col.


Endemic. North, South, Chatham Islands. Uncommon in the southern two thirds of the South Island where it is virtually replaced by D. flavus St George et Molloy.


Coastal to montane. Epiphytic, rupestral or terrestrial. Mostly on the trunks and branches of shrubs and taller forest trees but also on rocks, cliff faces, banks and fallen, moss covered logs.


Conspicuous tufted epiphyte of trunks and branches relatively clean of other epiphytic plants. Occasionally found on rock outcrops and cliff faces. Forming branched, leafy, tufts (40-)120(-150) mm diameter, with many white to brown, cord-like roots firmly attached to substrate. Lower parts covered in old leaf and inflorescence bases. Leaves (40-)60(-90) x 15-20(-30) mm, dark green, occasionally purple spotted, fleshy, elliptic, oblong, elliptic-oblong, with obtuse to emarginate, flat or twisted apices. Inflorescences racemose arising from or below the leaves, usually several per season; up to 80 mm long, bearing (1-)6(-20) flowers. Flowers at green or greenish-white, flecked with red, maroon or purple. Sepals and petals subequal, spreading widely but projecting forwards and inwards to form a cup. Dorsal sepal 3.5-4.5 x 1.5-2.0 mm, lateral sepals shorter, petals 2.5-3.5 x 1.5-1.8 mm. Labellum 2.5 x 2.0 mm, projected forwards, immobile, cupular, deeply channelled, mid-lobe evident only as a cucullate apex; lateral lobes forming sides of clog-shaped structure and each furnished with an internally projecting, partly transverse ridge, distal portion distinctly thickened, fleshy, bearing two prominent upright, flattened calli. Capsule 20 x 6 mm, broadly cylindrical to fusiform, green, usually without spots.

Similar Taxa

Allied to D. flavus from which it differs by its larger size, thicker (rather than thinner), distinctly fleshy (rather than coriaceous), elliptic to oblong (rather than elliptic to lanceolate), glossy (rather than dull), obtuse to emarginate (rather than acute), mostly dark green, rarely spotted (rather than pale green and spotted) leaves, green to greenish-white flowers flecked with red, maroon or purple (rather than greenish-yellow flowers lacking spots), cupular (rather than broadly trough-shaped) labellum with the distal portion bearing two prominent, upright, flattened calli (rather than none), uniformly green, rarely spotted (rather than spotted) capsules, and tetraploid (rather than diploid) chromosome number


September - January

Flower Colours



November - May

Propagation Technique

Plants can be grown by strapping them to a log, or wood slab and placing them suspended in a sheltered, warm position. Water frequently until well established. Should not be removed from the wild.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 76

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Where To Buy

Not commercially available.


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (1 April 2007). Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970)

References and further reading

Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. II. Government Printer, 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 10 Sep 2014