Peperomia: From the Greek peperi (pepper) and homoios (resembling), referring to its resemblance to a true pepper (to which it is closely related)
Current Conservation Status
2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
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 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Sparse
2012 - SO, Sp
2009 - SO
Peperomia tetraphylla (G.Forst.) Hook. et Arn.
Vascular - Native
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.
Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites
Piper tetraphyllum G.Forst., Peperomia novae-zelandiae Colenso
Indigenous. Recorded from Northland, the Bay of Plenty and East Cape areas. Also known from Australia and some Pacific Islands.
Coastal to lowland, usually epiphytic on tree trunks (particularly near branch junctions) but also found amongst tree roots. Often found on shaded cliff faces and ledges and on boulders within forest. This species is quite tolerant of dry conditions but seems to flourish near streams, water falls and seepages.
Succulent herb up to 200 x 300 mm. Plants often epiphytic or rupestral. Branches 1-3 mm diameter, dark green, reddish-green to yellow-green, numerous, ascending and spreading; initially finely puberulent, becoming glabrescent with pubescent retained at nodes. Leaves in whorls of (3-)4, or opposite, subsessile, 5-15 x 4-12 mm, dark green to yellow-green above paler beneath, rhomboid to suborbicular, thick, fleshy, coriaceous, puberulent when young. Inflorescence a terminal spike 10-40 mm long; axis puberulent; bract orbicular-peltate, subsessile, flowers minute, greenish-yellow. Stamens 2, minute, subsessile. Ovary partially immersed in axis; ovoid, acute; stigma capitellate. Drupe 1.5 mm long, ovoid, red to red-green, very sticky.
Could only be confused with Peperomia urvilleana A.Rich., which is much larger in all respects, has alternate rather than whorled, elliptic-oblong to broad-oblong rather than rhomboid to suborbicular leaves and both terminal and axillary rather than only terminal spikes.
September - April
November - April (-May)
Easy from rooted pieces and fresh seed but can be short-lived. An excellent pot plant. Cold sensitive
Not actively threatened but generally uncommon. Some populations are very small, and most of those in Northland occur on private land where they are vulnerable to forest clearance
2n = 44
Where To Buy
Occasionally offered by specialist native plant nurseries.
Fact Sheet Prepared by P.J. de Lange (1 November 2009). Description based on Allan (1961) supplemented with observations made from fresh material.
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Wellington, Government Printer.
This page last updated on 13 May 2014