Myrsine kermadecensis


Myrsine: myrrh
kermadecensis: From the Kermadec Islands

Common Name(s)

Kermadec mapou

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 - CD, IE
2009 - OL, IE


Myrsine kermadecensis Cheeseman



Brief Description

Small tree bearing wavy dark green leaves and small purple or white fruit inhabiting the Kermadec Islands. Leaves bulging between the veins, 3-7cm long by 1-3.5cm wide. Fruit 6-9mm wide.

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


Rapanea kermadecensis (Cheeseman) Mez; Suttonia kermadecensis (Cheeseman) Cheeseman


Endemic. Kermadec Islands: Raoul Island.


A common and important shrub and subcanopy (rarely canopy) species of dry forest on Raoul Island. Near the coast it is often the sole species under dense canopy of Metrosideros kermadecensis. However it is more commonly found in association with Coprosma petiolata, Myoporum rapense subsp. kermadecense in the canopy gaps and near the shore line and further inland with Macropiper excelsum subsp. psittacorum. Coprosma acutifolia and Melicytus aff. ramiflorus. Although most common in dry forest it extends right up into the wet forest and is a sparse component of the wet forest developed along the ridge lines and crater rim.


Gynodioecious shrub or tree up to 10 m tall; bark firm, rough, initially dark red-brown, aging grey. branches numerous more or less spreading to ascending. Leaves coriaceous, dark or light green, adaxially glossy; petioles stout, 6-15 mmlong; lamina 30-680 × 25-40 mm, elliptic- to obovate-oblong, obtuse or apiculate, mostly entire, sometimes sparingly toothed toward leaf base; margins of shade foliage flat, otherwise slightly to strongly recurved. Inflorescences in many flowered fascicles. Pistillate flowers; greenish yellow with purple spotting or wine-red with purple spotting; calyx 1.0-1.5 mm,tube 0.4-0.6 mm, lobes 4-5, 0.6-0.9 x 0.6-0.8 mm, triangular, glandular, apex acute to subacute; Corolla 2.1-2.7 mm, tube 0.2-0.3 mm,lobes 4-5, 1.9-2.4 x 0.9-1.0 mm, elliptic, glandular, apex acute. Antherodes malformed, 0.75-1.15 x 0.5-0.6 mm, apiculus strongly recurved; pollen absent. Ovary 0.8-0.9 x 0.8-0.9 mm. Stigma 0.3-0.4 mm high, spreading, outer parts appressed to ovary ± 2.5 mm. diameter. Bisexual flowers,greenish yellow with purple spotting or wine-red with purple spotting; calyx 1.0-1.5 mm, tube 0.3-0.5 mm, lobes 4-5, 0.7-1.0 x 0.7-0.8 mm, triangular, glandular, apex acute. Corolla2.7-3.1 mm, tube 0.2-0.3 mm, lobes 4-5, 2.5-2.8 x 1.1-1.3 mm, elliptic, glandular, apex acute. Anthers 1.1-1.8 x 0.8-1.2 mm, apiculus upright; pollen abundant. Ovary 0.75-0.9 x 0.75-1.0 mm. Stigma 0.75-0.8 mm high, upright. Fruit (8)-6-12 mm. diameter when fresh, globose, purple, dark violet-purple or black. Endocarp 3.2-3.5 x 4.0-5.5 mm; buff brown to pale brown with pale longitudinal veins; transversely elliptic to broadly elliptic, terete with 10-12 distinct longitudinal ridges; apex rounded with a small central dimple.

Similar Taxa

As the only species in the genus on the Kermadec Islands, Myrsine kermadecensis, when Raoul Island cannot be confused with any other plant there. However, limited material is in cultivation in New Zealand, and that could be confused with the Three Kings Islands endemic M. oliveri (also in limited cultivation). Myrsine kermadecensis differs vegetatively in that the adult leaves are mostly entire (only rarely toothed, and then sparingly so), and the leaves are uniformly dark (or light) glossy green rather than the sparingly toothed, dark green, yellow-green to green tinged pink leaves typical of M. oliveri. Both species also differ in their floral and fruit characters (see descriptions)


October - April

Flower Colours



August - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. Difficult but can be grown from semi-hardwood cuttings


An abundant species on Raoul which is listed only because it occupies a restricted geographic area.

Chromosome No.

2n = 46

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where to buy

Not commercially available




Description adapted by P. J. de Lange from Allan (1961), Heenan (1998) and Webb & Simpson (2001) supplemented by field observations.

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Government Printer, Wellington

Heenan, P.B. 1998: Gynodioecy in Myrsine kermadecensis (Myrsinaceae). New Zealand Journal of Botany36: 675-677.

Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of New Zealand gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.

This page last updated on 2 Jan 2014