Epacris sinclairii


Epacris: From the Greek epi 'upon' and akros 'the top', referring these plants' habitat being on high ground
sinclairii: After Sinclair (c. 1796–1861). Colonial Secretary and naturalist.

Common Name(s)

Sinclair's Tamingi

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 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered


2012 - RR
2009 - RC


Epacris sinclairii Hook f.



Brief Description

Bushy woody shrub with small hard leaves 7-15mm long by 2-5mm wide inhabiting upland Coromandel and Great Barrier Island. Leaves distinctly widest at middle, with three darker green lines on underside, with a small pale knob at tip. Flowers white, solitary in the base of leaves but many per twig.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Epacris pauciflora var. sinclairii (Hook.f.) Cheeseman


Endemic. North Island. Great Barrier Island where it is confined to the Central Mount Hobson Massif, and the Coromandel Peninsula, where it is only known from the Upper Kauaeranga Valley.


A rhyolite endemic, preferring cloud Forest (where it can be epiphytic) and associated rock tors. On Great Barrier Island, due to past forest logging and associated land clearance plants have also colonised gumland scrub and other open, improverished clay pans.


Stout, erect, bushy, usually spreading shrub or small tree 1-8 x 1-3 m. Basal trunk stout, up to 100 mm dbh; bark grey-brown, flaking in long strips. Branches numerous, very leafy, virgate, spreading, minutely hairy when young, becoming glabrescent. Leaves ascending, patent to sub patent, close-set, firmly coriaceous, 7-15(-20) x 2-5(-8) mm, broadly lanceolate to ovate, rhomboidal-ovate to oblong-ovate; apex obtuse, often terminating in a distinctive cream-coloured or pale-green knob (never acuminate or mucronate); veins obscure on upper side, distinct on underside, bright green to bronze-green above, paler beneath. Flowers axillary, solitary, often aggregated toward branchlet tips. Peduncles 2-2.5 mm long. Corolla 5-8 mm diameter, white, lobes 5, spreading, broad-oblong, obtuse. Stamens 5, filaments, inserted on corolla tube, anthers red-brown to black, scarcely exserted. Capsules 1.5-2.5 mm long, subglobose, 5-lobed.

Similar Taxa

Rather similar to Epacris pauciflora A.Rich. (swamp tamingi) which differs mainly by its strongly erect, nevre spreading, sparingly branched "pitch fork" growth form, smaller over all stature (rarely exceeding 2 m in height), and smaller, dark green to red-green rhomboidal, acuminate to mucronate leaves. There are no major floral, fruit or seed differences. E. pauciflora is a species of gumland scrub and peat bogs, which does not grow in forest or on rhyolite rock outcrops. On Great Barrier Island and in the upper Kauaerange Valley both species are locally sympatric.


Mainly April - though occasional flowers may be seen in September-October

Flower Colours

Red / Pink,White


Mainly May-July

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild.


Threatened by the heavily reduced habitat the species now occupies. In the few locations where it is known it is regenerating freely.

Chromosome No.

2n = 26

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Minute seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Taxanomic notes

Epacris sinclairii is ecological and morpholgoical distinct from E. pauciflora with which it is broadly sympatric on Great Barrier Island, andin the upper Kauaerange Valley. Limited nrDNA ITS sequence data (unpublished, University of Auckland) indicate only a minimal difference between E. sinclairii and E. pauciflora (a single base pair change).


Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 15 octyober 2005. Description by P.J. de Lange.

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 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 14 Sep 2014