Chionochloa flavicans f. temata


Chionochloa: snow grass

Common Name(s)

Te Mata Peak Snow Tussock

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 - Range Restricted


2012 - OL
2009 - OL


Chionochloa flavicans f. temata Connor



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class



None (first described in 1991)


Endemic. North Island, Hawkes Bay, where it is only known from Te Mata Peak, Havelock North.


Confined to limestone cliffs where it can at times be locally dominant.


Tall, rather stout, often sprawling, flabellate tussock with persistent leaves and sheaths. Leaf-sheath to 150 mm, pinkish or purplish, chartaceous, entire, becoming fibrous, keeled, glabrous or with a few long hairs, apical tuft of hairs to 1 mm. Ligule to 0.7 mm. Leaf-blade to 750 × 8 mm, dark green, often distinctly glaucous, keeled, persistent, glabrous except for some short hairs above ligule and prickle-teeth on margins and abaxially at apex. Culm to 1.5 m, internodes glabrous. Inflorescence to 300 mm, clavate, dense and compact, not naked below; rachis smooth below, branches and pedicels densely scabrid and with some long hairs at branch axils. Spikelets of up to 4 distant florets. Glumes to 4 mm, broad, shallowly bifid, sometimes purpled, margins ciliate, prickle-teeth adaxially above, < nearest lemma lobes; lower 3-nerved, upper 5-nerved. Lemma to 4 mm, shorter and broader than typical form; hairs dense on margin, few aside central nerve, rarely reaching sinus, prickle-teeth above adaxially and abaxially on nerves; lateral lobes to 0.2 mm, conspicuously awned adjacent to a small lobe; central awn to 6 mm, reflexed, column absent. Palea to 4.5 mm, interkeel with a few short hairs. Callus to 1.5 mm, hairs to 4 mm. Rachilla to 0.25 mm. Lodicules to 1 mm. Anthers to 4 mm. Ovary to 1 mm; stigma-styles to 3 mm. Seeds to 3 mm

Similar Taxa

Very closely related to C. flavicans Zotov. f. flavicans from which it differs by its smaller over all floret dimensions, more compact growth habit, and leaves which are often distinctly blue-tinged.


September - November


November - May

Propagation Technique

Unlike its close relative C. flavicans f. flavicans, f. temata has proved to be rather slow growing and often fickle in cultivation. It is an attractive plant with slightly more glaucous leaves that f. flavicans, and so well worth trying to grow.


A narrow range limestone endemic, naturally confined to a localized limestone outcrop where it is one of the more common species present.

Chromosome No.

2n = 42

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Occasionally offered by specialist native plant nurseries.


Description modified from Edgar and Connor (2000)

References and further reading

Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2000: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. V. Grasses. Christchurch, Manaaki Whenua Press. 650 pp.

This page last updated on 1 Oct 2013