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Dracophyllum traversii.jpg
Mountain neinei, Dracophyllum traversii
Scientific classification

Dracophyllum is a genus of plants belonging to the family Ericaceae, formerly Epacridaceae. There are some one hundred or so species in the genus, mostly shrubs, but also cushion plants and trees, found in New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia. The name Dracophyllum, meaning dragon-leaf, refers to their strong similarity to the unrelated Dracaena, sometimes known as dragon tree. Although dicotyledonous, they resemble primitive monocots with their slender leaves concentrated in clumps at the ends of the branches; they are sometimes called grass-trees.

The height varies from one centimetre (D. minimum) to about 12 metres (D. longifolium).


The following species are recognised by The Plant List:[1]

New Zealand[edit]

Among the New Zealand species are:

  • D. arboreum, tarahinau or Chatham Island grass tree.[2] Tree-like growth to 10 m with a distinct juvenile phase, found in the Chatham Islands
  • D. fiordense, western Otago and Fiordland
  • D. latifolium, neinei or spiderwood. Found in the North Island, from Mangonui southwards to North Taranaki and the Mahia Peninsula, growing from sea level to 1,100 m (Salmon 1973:271). Usually found growing under kauri.
  • D. lessonianum, wi-wi. Although it can grow up to 10 m high, it most frequently is seen as a straggly shrub.
  • D. longifolium, inanga or inaka. Growing to 12 m tall, this is the most widespread species in New Zealand, found from sea level up to 1200 m, in subalpine regions, from the middle of the North Island to as far south as the Auckland Islands.
  • D. mathewsii, D. viride and D. sinclairii are found only in the far north of Tai Tokerau.
  • D. menziesii is a multi-branched shrub that grows to 2 m. It grows in high rainfall areas in high montane to sub-alpine herbfields in Western Otago, Fiordland and Stewart Island/Rakiura.
  • D. pyramidale, a very slender, almost fragile tree, growing up to 10 m high. Grows between Great Barrier Island and the Kaimai Range.
  • D. recurvum, a 1m shrub with curled leaves, found in sub-alpine to high alpine regions of the Central Plateau of the North Island.
  • D. townsonii, very similar to the neinei, grows mainly in the Nelson area and the West Coast of the South Island.
  • D. traversii, mountain neinei. Growing to 13 m tall and found above 750 m in the top half of the South Island, also in scattered places in the North Island.


  • D. sayeri grows near the summit of Mount Bellenden Ker Queensland's second highest peak.
  • D. macranthum, restricted to the lansdown area near Taree on the NSW coast.
  • D. secundum found in mountainous heath and sheltered lowland gullies on sandstone in the Sydney basin.
  • D. oceanicum from seaside cliffs near Jervis Bay NSW.
  • D. milliganii from the highlands of Tasmania
  • D. minimum, cushion plant from Tasmanian mountains, also widespread in NZ.


  1. ^ "Dracophyllum". The Plant List. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Dracophyllum arboreum | New Zealand Plant Conservation Network". www.nzpcn.org.nz. Retrieved 2019-09-02.

External links[edit]