Scientific Name:
Clianthus puniceus (G.Don) Sol. ex Lindl., Edwards's Botanical Register; or, Flower Garden and Shrubbery. London t. 1775 (1835)
  • Donia punicea G.Don (1832)
Vernacular Name(s):
Kaka beak; Kōwhai-ngutu-kākā; Lobster claw; Parrot's beak

Upright or spreading multistemmed shrub, 1-2 m high, 1-2 m wide, branching 6om near base. Cotyledons 2(-3), 13-18 × 5-7 mm, oblong to oblong-elliptic, ± patent, dark green; lamina each side of midrib usually asymmetrical, often ± lunate; apex rounded; base oblique. Leaves 80-130 × 30- 50 mm, imparipinnate, 14-21-foliolate; lower 1-2 leaflet pairs ± opposite; otherwise alternate; petiole and rachis up to 100 mm long, up to 1.8 mm diam., channelled. Leaflet lamina 17-26 × 5-7 mm, narrowly lanceolate, narrowly oblong, narrowly oblong-lanceolate to narrowly elliptic; leaflets at distal end sometimes smaller, although terminal leaflet usually similar in size to lower proximal leaflets; adaxial surface grey-green to olive-green, matt to slightly glossy, with a reticulum of buttressed ridges, glabrous to moderately hairy; abaxial surface pale green, matt, sparsely to moderately hairy; margin flat; apex retuse; base obtuse; petiolule 0.4- 0.8 mm long, light green, sparsely to densely hairy; stipules 4.5-6.0 × 2.54.5 mm, lanceolate to narrowly triangular, green, adaxial and abaxial surfaces matt, sparsely hairy. Inflorescence a raceme, 1(-2) per node, pendulous, each with up to 40 buds, only 4-10 buds producing flowers. Rachis up to 80 mm long, 0.8-1.3 mm diam.; rachis, pedicels, bracts, and bracteoles sparsely to moderately hairy. Bracts 4.0- 5.0 × 1.5-2.0 mm, subtending pedicels, narrowly triangular, green; adaxial and abaxial surfaces matt. Pedicel 15-20 mm long, 0.7-1.0 mm diam., pendulous. Bracteoles 1.8-1.9 × 0.6-0.7 mm, inserted ± midway along pedicel, narrowly lanceolate to narrowly triangular. Calyx 7.0-8.0 mm long, 7.6- 8.4 mm wide, light green, outer surface sparsely to moderately hairy, inner surface glabrous; lobes 3.0- 4.5 mm long, 0.8-1.2 mm wide at base, narrowly triangular to shortly subulate, densely hairy on adaxial and abaxial surfaces; margin hairy. Corolla papilionaceous, light salmon-red to salmon-pink, or rarely cream to light cream-yellow; proximal parts of standard, wing, and keel petals white. Standard 52-55 × 17-23 mm, upright, with dark blotch at base, strongly reflexed 7-9 mm from base; apex acuminate; claw 4.8-5.3 mm long. Wings 26-29 × 5-10 mm, oblong, linear-oblong, or lanceolate, often tapering slightly in distal part; apex acute to obtuse; claw 4.5-5.5 mm long; auricle 1.5-2.2 mm deep. Keel 57-62 × 12-16 mm, ovate, rostrate, tapering to a strongly acuminate and curved apex; claw 7.0- 8.0 mm long; auricle 2.2-2.7 mm deep. Stamens 40- 60 mm long; ventral filaments fused for 27-37 mm; single dorsal filament free, 40-50 mm long, bent at base; anthers ± in two whorls or held at various heights; anthers 1.4-1.7 mm long. Pistil exserted beyond stamens; stipe 7-8 mm long, glabrous, slightly bent or curved; ovary 15-20 mm long, glabrous, with 50-61 ovules; style 35-40 mm long, bearded on upper surface for c. 1/3 length; hairs up to 0.8 mm long. Fruit a follicle, 50-90 × 8-22 mm, rounded to weakly dorsiventrally compressed in transverse section, pendulous, persistent, when dehiscent 40-70 × 18-28 mm, oblong to obovate, weakly curved or flattened in the same plane; seeds persistent. Seeds 3.0-3.5 mm long, 2.5-3.0 mm deep, 1.4- 1.6 mm thick, reniform, mottled black and olive-green.

[Reproduced from Heenan (2000, New Zealand J. Bot. 38: 361-371) with permission from The Royal Society of New Zealand.]

Indigenous (Endemic)
de Lange, P.J.; Norton, D.A.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Hitchmough, R.; Townsend, A.J. 2009: Threatened and uncommon plants of New Zealand (2008 revision). New Zealand Journal of Botany 47: 61–96. [Nationally Critical]
de Lange, P.J.; Norton, D.A.; Heenan, P.B.; Courtney, S.P.; Molloy, B.P.J.; Ogle, C.C.; Rance, B.D. 2004: Threatened and uncommon plants of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 42(1): 45–76.
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. [Nationally Critical]
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. [Nationally Critical]
Edwards's Botanical Register; or, Flower Garden and Shrubbery. London
Heenan, P.B. 2000: Clianthus (Fabaceae) in New Zealand: a reappraisal of Colenso's taxonomy. New Zealand Journal of Botany 38(3): 361–371.