Native plants natural to the Canterbury plains
IntroductionLearn about native plants found in the Canterbury plains.
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Grown from seed collected from the Canterbury Plains Ecological District.
The history of the native vegetation of the Canterbury Plains is one of succession, destruction and regeneration. For many millions of years prior to European settlement the patterns of native vegetation were defined by the shifting rivers and creeks, floods, shingle build-up, alluvial deposits, soil damage and fire from both natural and human ignitions.
The plant life varied from:
Prostrate herbs and grasses on the gravels.
Tussocks and small shrubs on younger terraces.
Woodland vegetation of kanuka, cabbage tree, olearia and kowhai on higher, older terraces.
Dense woodlands of broad-leaf hardwoods such as karamu, lancewood, Hoheria angustifolia, Lophomyrtus obcordata, etc., on deeper soils.
Podocarps on the fingers of deep, moist soils.
Today’s landscape has suffered over 150 years of intensive use and manipulation, not only for economic reasons but also to transform it into one that is English in character. This has been achieved by the introduction of exotic trees, shrubs and grasses, and grazing, drainage and cultivation of the land.
Planting species represented in these gardens will eventually provide a link between the native remnants of the Canterbury Plains, (kanuka forests of Eyrewell and Bankside Reserves), the foothills (beech forest of the Oxford-Ashley area) and the tall podocarp/hardwood forests of Riccarton Bush in Christchurch and Port Hills Reserves.
Species name and common name
T = threatened
R = rare
- Aciphylla subflabellata kuri kuri, spear grass
- Anemanthele lessoniana (R) hunangämoho, wind grass, bamboo grass
- Brachyscome pinnata (T)
- Carex buchananii matirewa, cutty grass
- Carex comans tussock grass
- Carex flagellifera mänia, tussock grass
- Carmichaelia grandiflora
- Carmichaelia kirkii (T)
- Clematis marata
- Coprosma areolata
- Coprosma crassifolia
- Coprosma intertexta (R)
- Coprosma lucida shining karamü
- Coprosma obconica (R/T)
- Coprosma sp. ‘Taylorii’
- Coprosma propinqua mingimingi
- Coprosma robusta karamü
- Coprosma rotundifolia round-leaved coprosma
- Coprosma rugosa
- Coprosma pedicellata (R/T)
- Coprosma virescens
- Cordyline australis ti köuka, cabbage tree
- Corokia cotoneaster korokio, corokia
- Cortaderia richardii toetoe
- Elaeocarpus hookerianus pökäkä
- Festuca novae-zelandiae fescue grass
- Griselinia littoralis päpäuma, broadleaf
- Helichrysum lanceolatum niniao
- Hypericum gramineum rolled-leaf hypericum
- Kunzea ericoides känuka
- Leptinella filiformis (T)
- Leptinella squallida
- Leptospermum scoparium mänuka, tea tree
- Lophomyrtus obcordata röhutu, NZ myrtle
- Melicytus alpinus porcupine shrub
- Muehlenbeckia astonii (T) shrubby tororaro
- Myrsine australis mäpou, matipou
- Myrsine divaricata weeping mäpou
- Olearia aff. odorata (T) scented tree-daisy
- Ozothamus leptophylla tauhinu, golden cottonwood
- Phormium tenax harakeke, New Zealand flax
- Pittosporum eugenioides tarata, lemonwood
- Pittosporum tenuifolium köhühu
- Plagianthus regius mänatu, ribbonwood
- Poa cita wï, silver tussock
- Podocarpus totara tötara
- Pomaderris phylicifolia var. ericifolia (T) tauhinu
- Prumnopitys taxifolia mataï, black pine
- Raukaua anomalus whauwhaupaku
- Sophora microphylla köwhai
- Sophora prostrata dwarf köwhai
- Teucridium parvifolium (T)
Some Maori names are generic, eg.
wi – tussock spp.
karamu – Coprosma spp.
akeake – olearia spp.