How to use this site

This site provides information on the ecological traits of New Zealand plants. You can access trait information for a species by searching the database for a scientific or common plant. Once identified, clicking on the plant name will display the ecological trait information available for that species.

How to search

At the top of every page is a link to 'Search', which will take you to the search page.

You can either search for a plant by scientific (Latin) name, e.g. Ilex aquifolium , or by the common name of a plant, e.g. Holly.  Enter the text to search for in either the Scientific Name Search text box or the Common Name Search text box and click the associated Search button.  If you are searching by common name then you can opt to search only Maori names, or all languages. The results of your search will be displayed in a selectable list.

Search results

The search results page displays all plants that match the search criteria in the Ng� Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database and have traits in the ecological traits database.  However, all plant names that match the search criteria can be viewed by clicking the �Show all plant names� check box at the top of the results page.  Those plants that have traits are indicated by the  icon.  The biostatus of the plant is also included to help with determining the relevance of the plants listed.

Click on a plant name link to view the trait details for that plant.

How to view the traits of a plant

After searching and selecting a plant, the ecological trait information details page is shown. This displays the flora description of the plant and any associated images that are available. To view the ecological traits for a plant, select one of the six trait category icons:

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.

Distribution of the plant 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.


The Links hyperlink on the details page will display a number of links to related information on other Landcare Research web sites, for a particular plant. These include:

Flora of NZ
Displays the information for the selected plant that is held in the Flora of New Zealand series.

NZ Plants
Displays the information for the selected plant that is held in the Ng� Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database. This provides access to the Names Database and Collections Data, and can be used to check recent changes in taxonomy, while also linking to further information such as distribution maps and images.

Phylogeny trees
Displays the information for the selected plant that is held in the Plant Phylogeny database.  This link provides a list of phylogeny trees that the plant appears in (if any).

Why does some text display as boxes?

This site uses unicode fonts to display a number of symbols and special characters.  If this character '�' displays as a box you need to check (1) you have a unicode font installed on your computer and (2) that your browser has been set to display unicode fonts correctly.