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

Neozeylandic Podocarpus dacrydioides Swamp Forest

Swamp forest dominated by Podocarpus dacrydioides extend throughout the low belts of New Zealand but become less diverse in the northern Otago districts of South Island and on Stewart Island. They only gain their best development in the flood zones of large rivers, where they can have an unusual physiognomy often with a preponderance of largely unbranched, very straight P. dacrydioides trees. These can be very tall, reaching heights of 60 m, and even though their crowns are often very sparse, they frequently support surprisingly large bushes of the endemic Astelia solandri (Asteliaceae). In other cases their trunks may be highly buttressed and their roots exposed well above the ground. The undergrowth only becomes well developed in the drier areas, but the endemic liana Freycinetia banksii (Pandanaceae) can often completely envelop tree trunks. Other trees may include the endemic Laurelia novae-zelandiae (Monimiaceae), which produces large pneumatophores, while the dominant tree fern is the endemic Dicksonia squarrosa (Dicksoniaceae). Among the many other common endemic taxa are Blechnum procerum (Blechnaceae), Geniostoma ligustrifolium (Loganiaceae), Melicytus micranthus (Violaceae) and Rubus schmidelioides (Rosaceae).

Neozeylandic Dacrydium colensoi (silver fir) Bog Forest

Bog forests dominated by Dacrydium colensoi are largely confined to the volcanic plateau district in the Mount Raupehu areas of North Island and the western lowlands of the Southern Alps. Associated trees include Podocarpus hallii and the endemic Libocedrus bidwillii (Cupressaceae) and Phylocladus alpinus (Phyllocladaceae). The canopy reaches no more than about 12 m in height, but there is usually dense undergrowth up to 3 m tall. This commonly includes endemic species like Alseuosmia quercifolia (Alseuosmiaceae), Coprosma foetidissima (Rubiaceae), Gahnia pauciflora (Cyperaceae) and Weinmannia racemosa (Cunoniaceae). 

Neozeylandic Dacrydium intermediate (yellow pine) Bog Forest

Extending much further south than Dacrydium colensoi forest, these forests occur in the upland areas of North Island and in the northwestern and fiord districts of South Island, but show their best development on Stewart Island. A characteristic feature of these forests is their rich bryophyte flora, with many trees support giant cushions of the Dicranoloma billardieri and Plagiochila gigantea. There is also a profusion of bryophytes on the forest floor, which also typically includes tussocks of the endemic Gahnia procera (Cyperaceae). Ferns, including tree ferns, are uncommon, but the endemic Leptopteris superba (Osmundaceae) can be commonly found in wet gullies. Other endemic species that may be encountered in the undergrowth include Coprosma colensoi (Rubiaceae), Dracophyllum latifolium (Ericaceae) and Elaeocarpus hookerianus (Elaeocarpaceae).

Neozeylandic Typha (Raupo) Swamp

Swamp dominated by Typha angustifolia extends throughout most of New Zealand, but the most diverse stands are in North Island. They range from sea level to about 750 m altitude and can occur on many soil types as long as they are inundated by water. In the best examples, Typha forms dense stands up to 1.8 m tall with dense undergrowth of Isachne australis intermingled with Polygonum serrulatum. Other plants include Cladium teretifolium, Eleocharis sphacelata, Schoenus carsei, Scirpus inundatus, Sparganium subglobosum and various endemic species such as Carex secta (Cyperaceae), Epilobium chionanthum (Onagraceae), Hydrocotyle pterocarpa (Apiaceae) and Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae).

Neozeylandic Sphagnum Bog

Sphagnum bogs in New Zealand are also usually distinguished by copious quantities of Gleichenium circinatum or G. alpina. They can be found, for example, on the west and south of South Island and in parts of Auckland. In places Cladium teretifolium or C. glomeratum are abundant, but in North Auckland and in the Waikato area the unusual bamboo-like endemic Sporodanthus traversii (Juncaceae) occurs often reaching heights of up to 3 m. Low-growing, creeping species of Lycopodium, such as Lycopodium ramulosum, can cover extensive areas, and in bare places or on the sphagnum itself, red rosettes of the insectivorous plant Drosera spathulata may be found. Several species of the insectivorous Utricularia are also common including U. novae-zelandia and the endemic U. delicatula (Lentibulariaceae). Bogs of South Otago and on Stewart Island are remarkable for the many mountain plants they support including several endemic species such as Astelia linearis (Asteliaceae), Celmisia argentea (Asteraceae), Geum leiospermum (Rosaceae), Gunnera prorepens (Gunneraceae), Oreobolus pectinatus (Cyperaceae) and the generic endemic Oreostylidium subulatum (Stylidiaceae). An interesting feature of this species of Gunnera is that its leaves can be almost black.


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.