Carmichaelia curta


Carmichaelia: after Carmichael, a botanist

Common Name(s)

Waitaki Broom, Whip Broom

Current Conservation Status

2012 - 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

2009 - Threatened - Nationally Critical
2004 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered


2012 - De, RF
2009 - De, RF


Carmichaelia curta Petrie



Brief Description

Slender yellow-green shrub with erect leafless twigs. Twigs oval in cross section, 2-2.5mm wide, grooved, young growth purplish. Leaves rare, sometimes in shaded parts, with 1-7 leaflets. Flowers small, pea-like, white with dark purple stripes. Fruit a small dry flattened pod containing 1-2 hard seeds, only partly opens.

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


Huttonella curta (Petrie) Kirk, Carmichaelia curta var. glabra G.Simpson, Carmichaelia diffusa Petrie


Endemic. South Island. Confined to the Waitaki, Clutha and Taieri Catchments. Long been known from near Falls Dam in the Manuherikia Valley (Clutha) and was recently found (Feb 2005) on the toeslopes of the northern Rock and Pillar Range (Taieri).


A component of grey scrub usually growing on colluvial aprons and alluvium, particularly on river terraces and also on rock outcrops.


Spreading, sprawling, sparsely branched shrub 0.5-1 x 1-2(-2.5) m. Branches slender, whip-like, spreading to erect. Cladodes 150-450 x 2-2.5 mm, linear, striate, slender, olive green to brown-green, glabrescent. Leaves not persistent, 1-7-foliolate, upper surface mottled grey-green or brown-green. Single or terminal leaflet broad-elliptic to ovate 5-12 x 3-7 mm, lateral leaflets broad elliptic, ovate to obovate 3-4 x 1.8-2.5 mm. Inflorescence racemose, 1(-2) per node, each with 9-11 flowers. Calyx tubular, 2.5-3 x 2 mm, glabrous, green flushed red, lobes triangular. Standard obovate, spreading above wings, 3-4 x 3-4 mm, distal and central areas with purple blotch, otherwise pale green sometimes veined purple. Pods 4-6 x 2-2.5 mm, short-obovate or broad-elliptic. Seeds oblong-reniform, 1-2 per pod.

Similar Taxa

Allied to Carmichaelia compacta Petrie and C. juncea Hook.f. and distinguished from both by the spreading and sprawling habit, sparsely placed and slender cladodes, short-obovate or broad-elliptic pods, intermediate seed size, and by the stamen filaments being almost fused with alternate anthers almost sessile.


October - February (- July)

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White


January - August

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from hardwood cuttings and seed. This species does best in dry climates with little or no humidity. For best results it should be planted in a fertile, free draining soil, in full sun.


As an endemic of the highly modified Waitaki Valley and surrounding catchments, most populations of C. curta occur within habitats accessible to browsing animals, and so are severely damaged, and of those which are reproductive, recrutiment is often limiting due to suppression of seedling germination by weeds. The most secure populations are those which occur on rock outcrops and bluffs, but even then these are vulnerable to scrub fires. very few populations occur on protected land, and many occur on the median strip of roadsides where they are vulnerable to weed spraying and road works.

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 but plants are held by several Botanic Gardens and specialist growers.


Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 30 November 2005. Description modified from Heenan (1995).

References and further reading

Heenan, P. B. 1995: A taxonomic revision of Carmichaelia (Fabaceae - Galegeae) in New Zealand (Part I). New Zealand Journal of Botany 33: 455–75.

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