Mazus pumilio


Mazus: tear (after protuberance on throat of flower)
pumilio: Small, dwarf

Common Name(s)


Current Conservation Status

2012 - Non Resident Native - Vagrant

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 - Non Resident Native - Vagrant
2004 - Non Resident Native - Vagrant


2012 - SO
2009 - SO


Mazus pumilio R.Br.



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 Herbs other than Composites




Indigenous. In New Zealand known only from one site near Whanaki, Eastern Northland. Present in Australia


The sole New Zealand wild occurrence was discovered near Whanaki by Mr Nigel Miller in 1996. At that site plants were found in a south-easterly facing, shaded gully growing on damp clay soils, within hummocks, under a small forest remnant dominated by kohekohe (Dysoxylum spectabile), pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa), puriri (Vitex lucens) and kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides).


Perennial creeping herb. Leaves up to 60 mm long, alternate, in terminal rossettes; hairy on the margin and adaxial midrib and lamina; glabrous on abaxial midrib and lamina; lamina 10-42 x 5-17 mm, elliptic, strongly undulate, midrib and lateral veins raised on abaxial surface; margin with a brown band, lower half distinctly serrate-dentate; base attenuate. Petiole 3-9 mm long, plano-convex, white, hairy. Inflorescence lateral, up to 60-flowered. Peduncle 30-70 mm long, glabrous. Bracteoles 1.5-6.0 x 0.2-0.9 mm, narrow-linear, ciliate, solitary, inserted below calyx. Calyx c.7.5 mm long, campanulate, green, with sparse hairs on margin and lobes; lobes 3.5-5.0 mm long, deltoid. Flower bud dark lilac. Corolla 16 x 17 mm, abaxial surface lilac, adaxial surfaces pale lilac; bearing sparse glandular hairs on abaxial surface. Tube 4-5 mm long. Lower lobes 6.0-7.0 x 6.5-7.0 mm, spreading, apex praemorse; palate with 2 longitudinal elevations, each with several yellow blotches, outer part glaborous or with a few sparse hairs, throad hairy. Upper lobes 6.5-7.0 mm long, narrowly deltoid, apex subacute. Stamens 4, glabrous; filaments 1.5-2.0 mm long, white. Ovary 2.0 x 1.4 mm, ovoid, glabrous. Style 4.5-5.0 mm long, white. Fruit 4.0 x 2.5 mm, enclosed within calyx. Seeds 0.6-0.8 x 0.4-0.5 mm.

Similar Taxa

Most likely to be confused with M. novaezeelandiae W.R.Barker, itself a New Zealand endemic only recently (1991) recognised as distinct from what had been the Australian endemic M. pumilio. From M. novaezeelandiae, M. pumilio differs by its distinctly serrate-dentate, rather than entire to sinuate leaves, and lilac rather than white flowers. The capsules are also much smaller than M. novaezeelandiae. The leaves of M. pumilio are distinctly and uniformly hairy, while with the exception of f. hirtus Heenan those of M. novaezeelandiae are glabrous. In f. hirtus the hairs are confined to the midrib and lamina margin, whilst in M. pumilio they cover upper lamina surface, midrib and margins.


September - May

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White


December - June

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from rooted pieces and fresh seed. An attractive ground cover for a damp sunny or shaded spot. Does not like drought and cannot tolerate much competition from taller growing plants. Now widely grown and sold by New Zealand plant nurseries. Though the exact source of the plants is not clear and they are often sold incorrectly as M. novaezeelandiae.


The fate of the small New Zealand population discovered in 1996 remains unknown. When it was discovered there were very few plants giving the appearance of a recently established population. This distinctive species is absent from earlier New Zealand gatherings of Mazus, and it does not appear to have been collected since 1996. Its claim to vagrant status relies on its apparent inability to establish beyond its sole New Zealand occurrence. In cultivation the species readily sets seed and spreads rapidly. Why it has remained scarce in the wild is an aspect that requires further critical study.

Chromosome No.

2n = 38

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 18 August 2005. Description adapted from Heenan & Forster (1997).

References and further reading

Heenan, P.B.; Forester, L.J. 1997: Mazus pumilio (Scrophulariaceae), an addition to the indigenous flora of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 35: 437-440.

This page last updated on 6 Dec 2014