Metrosideros perforata


Metrosideros: iron heart
perforata: From the Latin perforatus 'pierced with holes', depending on the species this may refer to the foliage covered in punctate oil glands

Common Name(s)


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

2012 - Not Threatened
2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Metrosideros perforata (J.R.Forst. et G.Forst.) A.Rich.



Brief Description

Woody long-climbing vine. Mature plants only reproductive. Leaves more or less circular, dark green above, pale green below, both surfaces covered in fine glandular spots (especially evident on leaf undersides). Flowers white (rarely pink) in dense, terminal, fluffy, clusters.

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 Lianes and Related Trailing Plants


Leptospermum perforatum J.R.Forst. et G.Forst., Metrosideros scandens Sol. ex Gaertn.


Endemic. New Zealand: Three Kings, North and South Islands to about northern Otago and northern Fiordland


Coastal to montane. An abundant plant of open scrub, dense forest or rock-land. In forest and scrub situations climbing on other trees but also climbing up cliff faces, on rock outcrops, and forming a "shrubland" in loose talus


Vine up to 20 m (rarely more long). Bark furrowed, dark grey to brown-black, ± tessellated, and flaking in tabular shards. Growth dimorphic, juvenile and climbing vines sparingly branched, mature (adult - reproductive state) heavily branched. Branchlets terete, ± invested in short dark brown setose hairs. Leaves close-set, coriaceous, glandular punctate (this especially evident on abaxial surface) subsessile; petioles 1.0-3.2 mm long, lamina 6-12 × 5-9 mm, broad-ovate, broad-oblong to suborbicular, obtuse, adaxially dark green, ± glabrous, abaxially very pale green; finely setose; margins recurved. Inflorescences in axillary few-flowered cymose botryia, these crowded towards apex of branchlets; peduncles and pedicels pubescent to setose; peduncles 10-40 mm long, pedicels 5-10 mm. Hypanthium broad-turbinate, initially fleshy, finely tomentose ± glabrescent; calyx lobes broadly deltoid, obtuse; petals caducous, 1.5-3.0 × 1.5-2.8 mm, suborbicular, white or pink; stamens numerous, 8-10 mm long, white (rarely pink). Capsule 4-5 mm diameter, 3-valved, subglobose, exserted, ± woody.

Similar Taxa

Easily distinguished from all other indigenous Metrosideros by the small rounded "spotted" (glandular-punctate) leaves, which are dark green above and pale green below (the spotting is most evident on the leaf undersides), and by the dense clusters of white flowers. In its juvenile state it may be confused with juvenile vines of Metrosideros carminea. However, the young growth of Metrosideros carminea is distinctly pinkish and the leaf hairs are much longer and pink coloured. Despite the common name "white rata" Metrosideros perforata is not closely related to Metrosideros albiflora, which is a species virtually confined to northern New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) forest, and which has much larger leaves (without obvious glandular spotting) and fewer, larger inflorescences.


November - March

Flower Colours



February - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from rooted pieces. Can be grown from semi-hardwood cuttings. However like all Metrosideros cuttings can be fickle to strike. A tough, resilient rata suitable for open situations and once established tolerant of drought and moderate frost.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 22

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (5 January 2013). Description based on fresh material.

This page last updated on 25 Oct 2016