T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Carmichaelia petriei (Desert broom)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Galegeae
Subtribe: Astragalinae
Genus: Carmichaelia
Species: C. petriei
Binominal name: Carmichaelia petriei
Synonyms: Carmichaelia petriei var. minor, Carmichaelia ramose, Carmichaelia virgata, Carmichaelia petriei var. petriei
Common name: Desert Broom, Butterfly broom, Pukaki

Carmichaelia petriei is a stout, erect, openly much branched leafless New Zealand broom up to c. 2 m. tall and grows in coastal lowland areas to montane grasslands east of the Southern Alps from the McKenzie country to Central Otago and central Southland.
The branches are round and have distinctive yellow pointed tips. It seldom has leaves as the green stems take there place. In dry places the stems may be a yellow green while in less drier areas they tend to be greener.
It small mauve flowers (6mm by 5mm) similar to those of sweet peas are produced from small notches on the stem. The flowers are white flushed with purple and with purple veining on the keel. The seedpods are 8-10mm long and are dark brown/black. The seeds are greenish yellow and sometimes are mottled with black.
Grazing stock and hares have considerable effect on this plant.

Photographed at Otari Wilton Bush Reserve