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

Pimelea villosa (Sand Daphne)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Thymelaeaceae
Genus: Pimelea
Species: P. villosa
Binomial name: Pimelea villosa
Synonyms: Pimelea arenaria, Gymnococca arenaria, Pimelea arenaria, P. villosa subsp. Arenaria, Pimelea dasyantha
Common names: Sand daphne, Sand pimelea, autetaranga, toroheke,

Pimelea villosa (syn. P. arenaria) is an endemic; New Zealand native prostrate shrub that is now rare and endangered with small pockets of plants found in localised sand dune and associated areas throughout the country. It is more common on the North, South and Rekohu Island (Chatham Island). It is abundant on Rekohu Island.

Pimelea villosa forms a thick mass of small, blue/green, oblong, pointed leaves that are 5 to 15 mm long and 3 to 7mm wide. The leaves undersides are pale and are covered in long hairs. The branches are hairy and are often covered with sand. Small white flowers appear September to March and followed by translucent crimson berries October to April. 

Pimelea villosa decline is due to competition from marram grass; trampling by cattle, sheep and horses; browsing of seedlings by possums; seed destruction by rodents; vehicle damage and fire. The plants low fruit set is thought to be due to a decline of pollinators.

This link is to an interesting PDF article by the Dune Restoration Trust of New Zealand on the restoration of Pimelea villosa on coastal dunes. http://tiny.cc/pimelea 

Photographed on the Chatham Islands March

Photographed at Te Kainga Marire Gardens at Spencer Place, New Plymouth, January.