Scientific Name:
Melicytus alpinus (Kirk) Garn.-Jones in Connor & Edgar, New Zealand J. Bot. 25: 127 (1987)
  • Hymenanthera dentata var. alpina Kirk, Stud. Fl. New Zealand 44 (1899)
  • Hymenanthera alpina (Kirk) W.R.B.Oliv., Rec. Domin. Mus. 1: 211 (1944)
Vernacular Name(s):
Porcupine shrub

Kirk's description is: " Depressed, 1 ft.–2 ft. high. Branches very short, rigid, stout, usually terminating in a stout spine. Bark whitish, lenticellate. Leaves less than 1/2 in. long, usually fascicled, very coriaceous, oblong-obovate; petioles very short. Flowers on very short straight peduncles. Sepals erosulate-ciliate. Petals broad, recurved. Anthers very broad, connective much produced, nearly entire; dorsal scale broadly cuneate. Style slender; stigmas 2, spreading. Fruit not seen. SOUTH Island: Alps of Canterbury and Otago. 2,000 ft. to 4,000 ft. A remark- able plant, forming a mass of very short stout spinous branches. Possibly a distinct species. Dec., Jan." Frs subglobose, ± 5 mm. diam., white ± purple-flecked.

[From: Allan (1961) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 1 as Hymenanthera alpina (Kirk) W.R.B.Oliv.]

Indigenous (Endemic)
Connor, H.E.; Edgar, E. 1987: Name changes in the indigenous New Zealand flora, 1960–1986 and Nomina Nova IV, 1983–1986. New Zealand Journal of Botany 25: 115–170.
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Barkla J.W.; Courtney, S.P.; Champion, P.D.; Perrie, L.R.; Beadel, S.N.; Ford, K.A.; Breitwieser, I.; Schönberger, I.; Hindmarsh-Walls, R.; Heenan, P.B.; Ladley, K. 2018: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series. No. 22. [Not Threatened]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington. [Not Threatened]
Kirk,T. 1899: The Students' Flora of New Zealand and the Outlying Islands. Government Printer, Wellington, N.Z.
Oliver, W.R.B. 1944: The vegetation and flora of D'Urville and Stephen Islands. Records of the Dominion Museum, Wellington 1: 193–227.