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


Chionochloa flavicans (Miniature Toe Toe)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Monocots
(Unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Chionochloa
Species: C. flavicans
Binomial name: Chionochloa flavicans
Synonym: Chionochloa “flavescens”
Common name: Snow grass (from the Greek chion, snow and chloe, grass, Miniature Toe Toe

A stout wide spreading native tussock growing up to a 1m tall. Is endemic to the North Island of New Zealand and is found in the Coromandel Peninsula and also can be found from the East Cape to Hawke's Bay. It grows on cliffs and rock faces from sea level to 975m. 
The weeping green leaves are up to 12 mm wide and are larger than most tussocks similar to it. The flowering plumes (up to 30+cm long) which appear on 1.5m stems in summer can make it look similar to the Toetoe species. The plumes begin a green colour and as they age turn light brown. 
A different form, C. flavicans forma temata, can be found growing on Te Mata Peak near Havelock North in the North Island. It is often sold as Chionochloa “flavescens” which is incorrect and only creates confusion with the true C. flavescens. 

 

It is the most widely planted by councils and for highway plantings due to its low maintenance.
 

 

 

Young plants.
 

Close up of a stem
 

The top surface of a leave.