Included here is New Zealand (North and South islands), Stewart Island and a multitude of smaller islands.

Neozeylandic Maritime Cliff Formations

In the most exposed situations the strong halophyte Mesembryanthemum australe often dominates to the exclusion of all other species frequently forming hanging ‘curtains’ of flowering stems. Where there is a degree of shelter in both North and South islands, it is often accompanied by Apium prostratum, Salicornia australis and the endemic Senecio lautus (Asteraceae), and in many places particularly Auckland, Sounds-Nelson and North-western districts the endemic Arthropodium cirrhatum (Laxmanniaceae) can form extensive colonies. In more sheltered areas where there is less sea spray a more varied flora occurs with species such as the endemic Colobanthus muelleri (Caryophyllaceae), Coriaria sarmentosa (Coriariaceae) and Lepidium oleraceum (Brassicaceae).

Neozeylandic Coastal Scrub

These formations comprise a variety of species and species composition varies from place to place. They can be dominated by species of Asteraceae (Olearia or Senecio), species of Hebe, Meulenbeckia complexa or the endemic liana Freycinetia banksii (Pandanaceae). Senecio rotundifolius forms a coastal belt in sheltered areas of Stewart Island and in parts of the Fiord district. In slightly more exposed situations it is replaced by a ‘macrocephalous’ Olearia associations, which may be dominated by either the endemic Olearia angustifolium or O. operina (Asteraceae).  However, a transition between Senecio and Olearia scrub occurs at Mason Bay and on Catfish Island. Here the endemic Griselinia littoralis (Griseliniaceae) becomes more conspicuous and where sufficient light penetrates the scrub canopy, extensive colonies of the generic endemic Stilbocarpa lyallii (Apiaceae) occur. This strange plant has bright green, shiny leaves up to 30 cm in diametre on long stalks up to 90 cm. Hebe scrub occurs in various places such as in the Otago fiords and on the shores of Foveaux Strait. Hebe elliptica is usually the dominant species while other associated scrub species include Nothopanax arboreum and endemic Fuchia excorticata (Onagraceae). Beneath the shrubs are various coastal ferns together with the endemic Astelia nervosa var. sylvestris (Asteliaceae). The usually root climbing liana, Freycinetia banksii can occur as the dominant coastal scrub species all along the west coast of South Island. It can reach 2 m in height and may form an entangled mass with other lianas such as Calystegia tuguriorum and Muehlenbeckia australis. Meulenbeckia complexa scrub occurs in places where coastal hillsides, slope in a shoreward direction such as on the Banks Peninsula.

Northern Neozeylandic Metrosideros tomentosa Coastal Forest

Distinguished by the dominance of Metrosideros tomentosa and often by the endemic Corynocarpus laevigata (Corynocarpaceae), these forests extend throughout Auckland. Compared to the inland rainforests, these forests have thinner trunks and their undergrowth is more open. Other important trees include Dodonaea viscosa, Suttonia australis and various endemic or near endemic taxa such as Beilschmeidia taraire (Lauraceae), Hoheria populnea (Malvaceae), Melicytus ramiflorus (Violaceae) and Vitex lucens (Verbenaceae). Tree ferns are represented by Cyathea medullaris and the endemic C. dealbata (Cyatheaceae) and the undergrowth may include Paratrophis microphylla, various species of Coprosma, and the endemic or near endemic Leucopogon fasciculatus (Ericaceae) and Brachyglottis rependa (Asteraceae). Common lianas include Muehlenbeckia australis and species of Freycinetia, and among the epiphytes the huge Astelia banksii is frequent. Ferns are common and include many small species like Adiantum hispidulum, Doodia media and various endemics or near endemics such as Blechnum filiforme (Blechnaceae) and Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae), while close to streams in the north can be found good examples of the generic endemic herb Colensoa physaloides (Lobeliaceae).

Central Neozeylandic Corynocarpus laevigata Coastal Forest

Coastal forests here are distinguished by the dominance of the endemic Corynocarpus laevigata (Corynocarpaceae) with good examples found on the shores of the Cook Strait and Kapiti Island. Other common trees include Sideroxylon novo-zelandicum and the endemic Entelea arborescens (Malvaceae), Melicytes ramiflorus (Violaceae), Myoporum laetum (Scrophulariaceae) and Olearia furfuracea var. rubicunda (Asteraceae). There is usually a closed “multi-coloured’ canopy with the dark-green of Corynocarpus, yellowish-green of Melicytes ramiflorus, bright-green of Myoporum and dark-grey of Leptospermum scoparium. The principle climbers are Freycinetia and the unusual, endemic, pteridophyte Blechnum filiforme (Blechnaceae), although both of these taxa are also important ground-layer species. Polystichum richardi and the endemic Adiantum fulvum (Pteridaceae) and Asplenum hookerianum (Aspleniaceae) are other important ferns.

Southern Neozeylandic Coastal Moor

Confined to south of the South Otago and Stewart Island, this formation largely consists of creeping halophytes and coastal ferns requiring the peaty condition characteristic of the sub Antarctic climate and is regularly exposed to sea-spray. The most important plants are Asperula perpusilla, Cotula pulchella, Montia fontana, Myosotis pygmaea var. traillii, Plantago hamiltonii, Salicornia australis, Samolus aucklandicus and the endemic or near endemic Agrostis muscosa (Poaceae), Blechnum durum (Blechnaceae), Euphrasia repens (Scrophulariaceae) and Rumex neglectus  (Polygonaceae). Plant cover can be extremely dense and is often characterized by round, green, cushions of Euphrasia repens. In the flowering season, the endemic Gentianella saxosa (Gentianaceae) is often conspicuous. On flat sandy ground, west of the New River Estuary, there are transitions to dunes hallow vegetation, which includes endemic or near endemic species such as Acaena microphylla var. pauciglochidiata (Rosaceae), Gunnera arenaria (Gunneraceae) and Raoulia apice-nigra (Asteraceae).


Cockayne, L. 1958. The Vegetation of New Zealand. H. R. Engelmann (J. Cramer).

Laing, R. M. 1918. The vegetation of Banks Peninsula with a list of species (flowering-plants and ferns). Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, 51: 355-408.

Molloy, L. 1994. Wild New Zealand. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Wardle, P., Bulfin, M. J. A. & Dugdale, J. 1983. Temperate broad-leaved evergreen forests of New Zealand.  In: Ecosystems of the World 10 - Temperate Broad-Leaved Evergreen Forests. Elsevier.