Carmichaelia torulosa


Carmichaelia: after Carmichael, a botanist

Common Name(s)

Canterbury Pink Broom

Current Conservation Status

2018 - Threatened - Nationally Critical

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 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered
2009 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered
2004 - Range Restricted


2012 - DP, RF
2009 - DP, RF


Carmichaelia torulosa (Kirk) Heenan



Brief Description

Rare small tree or large shrub with erect leafless twigs inhabiting inland Canterbury. Trunk very short. Twigs 1.2-2.5mm wide, rounded. Flowers lavender-pink with darker veins. Fruit a dry pod containing up to 15 hard seeds and which widens where a seed is present giving a distinctive horizontally ribbed appearance.

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


Notospartium torulosum Kirk


Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (Canterbury (Amuri Range (North Canterbury) to Te Ngawai River (South Canterbury))


A plant of forest margins, especially riparian shrubland and low forest, and on rock bluffs. It has also been found within a wetland. Plants grow in a range of vegetation types from grassland and open shrubland to closed shrubland and low forest, though it is most commonly an emergent within open to dense shrubland.


Shrub or small tree up to 5 m tall. Trunk slender, brittle, usually branching close to base; branches slender, suberect to erect, leafless, initially red-green maturing grey to grey-green; branchlets numerous, suberect to erect, terete, dark green, 1.2-2.5 mm diameter. Inflorescences racemose, 1(-2) per node, up to c.50 mm long, slender, 1-10 flowered, flowers not crowded. Peduncle and pedicels glabrate. Bud pale pink to lavender. Flowers up to 8 mm long, lavender-pink in central and proximal areas, purple-veined. Calyx glabrous except on the broad obtuse teeth; standard rather narrow. Pods c.15-42 × 2 mm, subterete, strongly torulose; beak long, slender; seeds up to 15 per pod, Seeds reniform-elliptic to elliptic-oblong, up to 15 per pod, yellow-green, green, brown or orange-brown, marked or mottled with grey, dark purple-brown or black-brown 1.2-2.0 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from Carmichaelia carmichaeliae (Hook.f.) Heenan by the lavender-pink rather than pink flowers; seeds < 2.0 mm long, rather than > 2 mm long; strongly constricted rather than weakly constricted pods; and by its restriction to Canterbury


December – January

Flower Colours

Red / Pink,Violet / Purple


Throughout the year

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from seed. Difficult from cuttings. A very attractive shrub that should be more widely cultivated


Like most other New Zealand brooms this species is threatened by regeneration failure due to competition with the exotic grass swards; competition by exotic woody weeds such as gorse (Ulex europaeus L.) and broom (Cytisus scoparius(L.) Link); damage associated with plantation management (e.g., through felling trees or planting into Canterbury pink broom sites); and from deliberate and accidental spraying through its confusion as a weed species, or by its association with target species.

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).

Where To Buy

Not commercially available


Description based on herbarium material held at AK.

References and further reading

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 31 May 2014