Kunzea salterae


Kunzea: Named after Gustav Kunze (4 October 1793, Leipzig -30 April 1851), 19th century German botanist from Leipzig who was a German professor of zoology, an entomologist with an interest mainly in ferns and orchids
salterae: The epithet 'salterae' refers to Dr Josh Salter (1946–) of Auckland, New Zealand. Dr Salter is a botanical illustrator and conifer embryologist.

Common Name(s)

Moutohora kanuka

Current Conservation Status

2018 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable

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

2013 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon


Kunzea salterae de Lange



Brief Description

Decumbent shrubs, upright shrubs or small much-branched widely spreading trees endemic to Moutohora (Whale Island). Branches slender often pendulous. Branchlets numerous, slender, often pendulous, young stems copiously covered in short erect hairs. Leaves numerous, up to 18 × 2.0 mm needle-like. Flowers white, up to 12 mm diameter, borne in dense 'corymbiform' clusters. Fruit a small dry capsule 2.0–2.7 × 2.0–4.0 mm.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


None - first described in 2014


Endemic. New Zealand: Moutohora (Whale Island)


A local endemic that is widespread in dune and geothermal fields shrubland and regenerating forest of Moutohora (Whale Island).


Shrubs to small trees 0.1–10 × 2–6 m with broad, spreading , somewhat pendulous crowns, or completely decumbent and sprawling. Trunk up to 0.3 m d.b.h., widely spreading to suberect, flexuose. Bark initially firm, sinuous-fluted, elongate, cracking transversely with apices gradually detaching as small lunate flakes. Branches suberect to widely spreading, ascending or pendulous, branchlets slender; sericeous, indumentum copious rarely glabrate to glabrous, sericeous; initial hairs on emergent growth, straight, antrorse-appressed to 0.55 mm, deciduous; otherwise divergent persistent 0.04–0.1 mm, apices ± curled, often admixed antrorse-appressed, straight to somewhat sinuous hairs up to 0.28 mm. Leaves ± spreading to patent; lamina 4–18 × 0.6–2.0 mm, bright green, yellow-green, bronze-green to dark green; linear-lanceolate to narrowly oblanceolate, apex acute to subacute, cuspidate, rarely obtuse to rounded; base attenuate; lamina margin sparsely to densely, sericeous, hairs antrorse-appressed, to 0.5 mm, in 1–2 irregular rows just failing short of leaf apex. Inflorescence a 2–8-flowered corymbiform botryum to 45 mm long. Pherophylls deciduous squamiform, rarely foliose, 0.6–1.8 mm long; squamiform pherophylls brown or amber, broadly deltoid to oblong-ovate, glabrous except for finely ciliate margin and apex; foliose pherophylls bright green, linear, margins and apex finely ciliate. Pedicels 1.1–3.0 mm long, invested in divergent to subantrorse sericeous hairs. Flower buds pyriform to clavate, apex domed with calyx valves not or scarcely meeting. Fresh flowers 9–12 mm diam. Hypanthium 2.1–3.8 × 1.8–3.2 mm, reddish-brown; narrowly obconic to funnelform terminating in a slightly thicker rim bearing five persistent calyx lobes; surface smooth, sparsely hairy to glabrate; hairs subantrorse to antrorse, flexuose. Calyx lobes 5, upright 0.6–0.9 × 1.1–1.3 mm, persistent, broadly to narrowly triangular, glabrate except for ciliate apex. Receptacle dark red at anthesis. Petals 5, spreading, 1.4–1.6 × 1.4–1.6 mm, white, rarely basally flushed pink, orbicular to suborbicular, apex obtuse to rotund, margins finely crimped, oil glands colourless or rose-pink, scarcely evident when fresh. Stamens 28–38 in 1–2 weakly defined whorls, filaments white rarely tinged rose-pink toward base. Anthers dorsifixed, 0.11–0.16 × 0.10–0.14 mm, scutiform to ovoid, latrorse. Pollen white. Anther connective gland prominent, pale orange to pink when fresh, drying orange-brown, spheroidal, finely papillate, somewhat farinose. Ovary 3–4 locular, each locule with 8–10 ovules in two rows on each placental lobe. Style 2.1–3.2 mm long at anthesis, white basally flushed with pink; stigma capitate, up to 1× style diam., flat, abruptly broadened, pale cream, finely papillate rugulose. Fruits 2.0–2.7 × 2.0–4.0 mm, light brown to grey, cupular to suburceolate. Seeds 0.80–1.00 × 0.45–0.48 mm, narrowly oblong, oblong, oblong-obovate to falcate-oblong or elliptic, testa semi-glossy, orange-brown; surface coarsely reticulate, central portion of cells furnished with short, tubular-spiny, protuberances.

Similar Taxa

From Kunzea tenuicaulis, K. salterae is distinguished by its allopatric distribution; longer (up to 18 mm), linear-lanceolate rather than oblanceolate to obovate leaves; glabrate, narrowly obconic to funnelform hypanthium; by its flat, narrowly capitate rather than slightly domed centrally depressed stigma; and by the non-testiculate, deeply furrowed thecae. K. salterae is distinguished from K. linearis by the possession of shorter glabrate leaves and short and divergent rather than long, silky and antrorse branchlet hairs Further, the inflorescences of K. salterae are corymbiform rather than spiciform, and the individual flowers are distinctly pedicellate, never sessile to subsessile. Further differences are given in de Lange (2014)


August- April

Flower Colours

Red / Pink,White



Propagation Technique

Unknown - probably easily grown from fresh seed. This species is very uncommon in cultivation and its exact needs and preferences are as yet unknown.


Kunzea salterae is appropriately listed (as K. aff. ericoides var. microflora (AK 289816; Moutohora) listed as 'At Risk / Naturally Uncommon qualified IE [Island Endemic], OL [One Location] by de Lange et al. 2013.

Chromosome No.

2n = 22

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Kunzea salterae has many features suggestive of a hybrid origin between K. linearis and K. tenuicaulis (de Lange 2014) - yet neither species have naturally overlapping distributions. This is an aspect that would be worth further research.


Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 25 August 2014. Description modified from de Lange (2014).

References and further reading

de Lange, P.J. 2014: A revision of the New Zealand Kunzea ericoides (Myrtaceae) complex. Phytokeys 40: 185p doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.40.7973.

de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington.


This page last updated on 1 Sep 2014