Discaria toumatou

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Tribe: Colletieae
Genus: Discaria
Species: D. toumatou
Binomial name
Discaria toumatou

Discaria toumatou, Matagouri, is a plant endemic to New Zealand. An alternative but disused name for the plant is Wild Irishman.[1] The name matagouri is how speakers of English heard the South Island pronunciation of the Māori name "matakoura".

Matagouri is a tangle branched, extremely thorny shrub or small tree up to five metres tall.[1] It has small leathery leaves close to the thorns, which are only abundant in spring, or the shade. The flowers are tiny and white with no petals.

It is most common in tussock grassland, stony areas and river beds. It is common in the eastern South Island, and found occasionally in the North Island south of the Waikato river. As with other Discaria species it fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere with the help of symbiotic bacteria of the Frankia genus in its roots.

As a native plant it has complete protection on public conservation land and a degree of protection on private land under the Resource Management Act. In a notable case a 400 ha area of matagouri forest, including trees that may have been 150 years old, was illegally sprayed at the head of Lake Sumner in 2001.[2]


  1. ^ a b Allan, H. H. (1961). Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Indigenous Tracheophyta. Psilopsida, Lycopsida, Filicopsida, Gymnospermae, Dicotyledones. 1. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. 
  2. ^ Bristow, Robyn (10 August 2001). "Council chides station owners". The Press. 

External links[edit]

  • Matagouri at the Department of Conservation