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


Gaultheria oppositifolia (Niniwa)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Gaultheria
Species: G. oppositifolia
Binomial name: Gaultheria oppositifolia
Synonyms: Gaultheria multibracteolata, Brossaea oppositifolia,
Common name: Alpine wax berry, Snowberry, Niniwa, Waiuatua, Kama 

Gaultheria oppositifolia is a much branched erect (up to 2m) to spreading shrub. Is readily distinguished from other New Zealand species of the genus by the large opposite leaves, which are sessile and cordate at the base. Flowers are in small few branched compact terminal panicles.

It is has been recorded from South Auckland, Taupo, Mayor Island’s crater, Wanganui, Waverly, Lake Moumahaki, the Wellington, East Cape area and other localities. In Taranaki recent recorded sightings have been at off highway 3 near Messenger Tunnel growing on a north facing slope in partial shade in limestone with volcanic ash soil (2007 and east of Hurleyville, on Ball Rd near Kawaiti Rd on a ridge crest-steep bank at edge of black beech-kamahi forest. 

Gaultheria oppositifolia: Hooker, Fl. Novae-Zelandiae (1853).