About the Ecological Traits of New Zealand Flora

This database began life as a repository of information for projects on New Zealand weeds, and wetland plants.  It holds a list of all native and all naturalised higher plant species.  Most effort to date has been on entering data on the naturalised flora and this information is updated from time to time. 

The ecological trait data covers world and local distributional data, morphological, reproduction, and other attributes that influence species' environmental responses, and interactions with other plants and animals.  Attributes relevant to weed management such as response to damage, reproduction capacity, seed longevity, and weed status elsewhere are included.  The database does not capture information on weed control methods.  Data are derived from publications and databases on the the New Zealand Floras and many other publications.

Ecological traits for individual species are organised into six groups of attributes: Status in New Zealand, Distribution, Morphology, Reproduction, Flower and Fruit, Wetland and miscellaneous.  Please see below for a brief explanation of each group.  A description of each trait recorded within these groups can be found in the Glossary.

Trait categories covered by this database:

Status in NZ
Whether the species is native etc. to New Zealand, its history of introduction where applicable in New Zealand and overseas.  Whether the species or its relatives are weeds.  Also whether the climate in its home range and New Zealand are similar.

Its distribution within New Zealand, the communities it grows in, and its global distribution.

The species' life form, height, longevity, morphological features, presence of vegetative reproduction, and leaf parameters.

The species reproductive system, time until reproduction, resprouting ability, seed output, seed size, seed dispersal method(s).

Flower and Fruit
Time of flowering and fruiting and size and properties of flowers and fruit.

Others: whether poisonous, palatable, or nitrogen fixing etc.  Wetland: descriptors specific to wetland species covering morphology and habitat preferences.

Publication List

The name and trait data are primarily derived from the sources below.  The scientific names may not necessarily now be the current names.

Allan HH 1961. Flora of New Zealand; Vol. I. Wellington, Government Printer. 1085 p.

Atkinson IAE 1985. Derivation of vegetation mapping units for an ecological survey of Tongariro National Park, North Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 23: 361�378.

Boutin C, Keddy PA 1994. A functional classification of wetland plants. Journal of Vegetation Science 4: 591-600.

Connor HE 1977. The poisonous plants in New Zealand. Wellington, Government Printer.

Edgar E, Connor HE 2000. Flora of New Zealand; Vol. V. Lincoln, New Zealand, Manaaki Whenua Press. 650 p.

Esler AE 1988. Naturalization of plants in urban Auckland: a series of articles from the New Zealand Journal of Botany. Wellington, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

Johnson P, Brooke P 1989. Wetland plants of New Zealand. Wellington, DSIR Publishing. 319 p.

Healey AJ, Edgar E 1980. Flora of New Zealand; Vol III. Wellington, Government Printer. 220 p.

Moore LB, Edgar E 1970. Flora of New Zealand; Vol. II. Wellington, Government Printer. 354 p.

Raunkiaer C 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford, Oxford Press.

Webb CJ, Sykes WR, Garnock-Jones PJ 1988. Flora of New Zealand; Vol. IV. Christchurch, Scientific and Industrial Research. 1365 p.

Webb CJ, Simpson MJ 2001. Seeds of New Zealand gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press. 428 p.

Wardle P 1991. Vegetation of New Zealand. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Ecological Database of the British Isles.


The web delivery of this database was funded by the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information Systems (TFBIS) programme.