Glossary for Ecological Traits of New Zealand Flora

Aerial Resprout

Does this taxon regrow from aerial shoots after damage (including fire)?

Altitude Bands

Specific altitude categories

Biostatus Description

Values describing the biostatus of a taxon within the context of New Zealand (e.g. native, exotic, or naturalised)

Canadian Function

Canadian functional types, which describe growth traits of a wetland taxon as defined by Boutin and Keddy (1994)

Climate Match

Match between the climate range associated with a taxon within its region of origin and the climate range within New Zealand

Climate Range

Type of climate(s) under which the taxon grows, or would be likely to grow in New Zealand


Type of environment in which the taxon can grow in New Zealand

Community Position (Wetland)

Community position associated with a wetland taxon

Congeneric Weed

Is there another weedy taxon in the same genus to which the species in question belongs?

Countries of Origin

Countries identified by country code as defined by ISO 3166

Dispersal Method(s)

Dispersal methods that may be associated with a taxon (including seeds and vegetative organs)


Distribution and abundance of the taxon within New Zealand

Ecological Area

Geographic regions and districts within New Zealand characterised by a given set of ecological conditions

Esler Life Mode

Life modes under which a taxon may be classified as defined by Esler (1988)

Flowering Period Length

The mean length of the flowering period for the taxon in months

Flowering Season

Season during which a taxon may flower in New Zealand

Fruiting Period Length

Length of time that the taxon bears fruit, in months

Fruiting Season

Season during which a taxon may bear fruit in New Zealand

Germination Requirements

Conditions required by a seed of a particular taxon before it will germinate

Hydrological Source

Source of water for a wetland habitat

Introduction Reason

Reasons why a taxon was introduced into New Zealand


Islands on which a taxon may be present

Lateral Spread (Wetland)

The ability of a wetland taxon to spread laterally by vegetative growth

Latitude Degrees

Value of the northernmost and southernmost latitude at which a taxon is known to exist on the globe

Latitude Direction

Position of latitude degrees relative to the equator (northern or southern)

Leaf Form

Forms of photosynthetic organs present in the taxon

Leaf Longevity

Relative length of time a taxon retains its leaves during the year

Leaf Width

The mean width of a leaf for the taxon in millimetres

Max Flower Diameter

Maximum diameter of a flower or all florets of a composite flower

Max Mean Leaf Length

The mean maximum length of a leaf for the taxon in millimetres

Max Mean Plant Height

The mean maximum height of the taxon in metres

Mean Crop Interval

The mean time between seed crops for a taxon in years

Mean Fruit Long Length

Mean length of a fruit for the taxon, measured along the longitudinal axis, in millimeters

Mean Fruit Short Length

Mean width of a fruit for the taxon, measured across the widest transverse axis, in millimetres

Mean Leaf Lifespan

The mean life of a leaf for a deciduous taxon in months

Mean Seed Mass

The mean seed mass for a taxon, in milligrams

Mean Plant Height

The mean height of the plant in metres

Mean Plant Lifespan 

The mean length of life for the taxon in years

Min Juvenile Period

The shortest length of time it takes the taxon to mature sexually and produce fruit and seeds, in years or part years

Mycorrhizal Association

Is this taxon associated with mycorrhizas?

Naturalisation Period

When a taxon was first recorded in the wild within New Zealand, and preserved as a herbarium specimen

Naturalised Elsewhere

Is this taxon naturalised in another country?

New Zealand Planting History

Date ranges defining when a taxon was first introduced into New Zealand, or when its introduction may be first inferred from entries in nursery catalogues

Nitrogen Fixing

Is this a nitrogen-fixing taxon?

Number of Shoots

Mean number of shoots present per plant for a taxon

Nutrient Status

Productive state of a water body where a wetland taxon occurs

Palatable to Animals

Is this taxon palatable to animals?

Peat Forming

Peat-forming ability of a wetland taxon


Is this taxon poisonous to stock or humans?

Pollination Agents

Mechanisms by which flowers of a taxon may be pollinated


Can this taxon undergo polyploidy (genome doubling producing multiple sets of chromosomes)

Raunkiaer Life Mode

Life modes under which a taxon may be classified as defined by Raunkiaer (1934)


Event that predisposes colonization of the taxon

Region(s) of Origin

The geographic region from which a non-indigenous taxon originated

Ripened Fruit Colour

Colours by which a fruit (when it is ripe) may be classified  

Rooting Depth (Wetland)

Depth of a water body where a root-forming aquatic macrophyte can colonise, in metres

Seed Bank Type

Maximum length of time a seed belonging to the taxon may remain viable in the soil seed bank

Seed Length

The mean length of a seed for the taxon in millimetres

Seed Number

Number of seeds per fruit, cone, or inflorescence

Seed Production & Viability

The proportion of seeds from a taxon that are viable

Seed Width

The mean width of a seed for the taxon in millimetres

Seed Wing Load Index

Weight of seed divided by wing length

Seeds Per Plant

Range in the number of seeds produced by one plant of a given taxon


Can this taxon self-pollinate

Serotiny of Fruits

Degree to which fruits (or cones) and their seeds are resistant to the effect of fire

Sexual Reproduction

Sexual reproductive flowering categories

Shade Tolerance

Tolerance to shade

Spines or Burrs

Does this taxon have spines or burrs on the vegetative parts or the dispersal unit?

Subject of Poison

Subject to which the taxon in question is known to be poisonous

Terrestrial Habitat (Wetland)

A specific wetland terrestrial habitat category

Vegetative Organs

Vegetative organs associated with a taxon

Water Depth (Wetland)

Depth of a water body where taxon is found, in metres

Water Tolerance (Wetland)

Tolerance of taxon to inundation by water

Weed Elsewhere

Is this taxon a weed elsewhere?

Weed List

Present in a list containing taxa known to be weedy within New Zealand

Wetland Vegetation  

The structural class associated with a wetland taxon based on Arkinson (1985)



No data available


The trait in question has been investigated but data suitable for entry into the system were not available

Not applicable


The trait in question is not applicable for the taxon in question



Investigation into data relevant to the trait in question has not been carried out to date