Tussock grasslands of New Zealand

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Tussock in the vicinity of Mount Ngauruhoe.
Exclusion plot on Island Saddle in the South Island of New Zealand. The enclosure prevents herbivory by introduced mammals resulting in a higher recruitment of tussocks within the plot.

Tussock grasslands form expansive and distinctive landscapes in the South Island and to a lesser extent in the central plateau region of the North Island of New Zealand.[1] Most of the plants referred to as tussocks are in the genera Carex, Chionochloa, Festuca, and Poa.

What would be termed "herbfields" for European mountains, and bunchgrass meadows in North America, are referred to as tussock herbfields in New Zealand due to a dominance of this type of plant. Species of the genus Chionochloa dominate in these areas. The larger tussocks are called snow grass (or less commonly as snow tussocks) and may grow up to 2 metres in height. They grow slowly and some specimens are estimated to be several centuries old.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "1. – Grasslands – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". teara.govt.nz. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  2. ^ Dawson, John (1988). Forest Vines to Snow Tussocks: The Story of New Zealand Plants. Wellington [N.Z.]: Victoria University Press. p. 264. ISBN 0-86473-047-0.

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