Plants

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Holloway's crystalwort (Atriplex hollowayi)

This annual succulent herb has very rapidly disappeared from many of the beaches from which it was known. It once occupied the sand just above the hightide line of some of the larger beaches from Northland to East Cape. Now, it only inhabits Waikuku and Whareana Beaches near North Cape where its survival is dependent on an intensive conservation programme. The number of plants varies hugely from year to year – from none, to over 200. The reasons for its disappearance are not fully understood.

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Kakabeak (Clianthus puniceus & Clianthus maximus)

Despite the spectacular flowers of kakabeak being well known to many gardeners, wild populations of Eastern kakabeak are disappearing rapidly, and Northern kakabeak recently became extinct in the wild. These highly edible plants are irresistible to all manner of pest, and are outcompeted by weeds, causing conservationists to go to great lengths to protect remaining plants.  

You can read more about Māori-led kaitiakitanga that is happening to revive Tairawhiti Ngutukākā populations here.

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Muehlenbeckia astonii shrubby toroaro

Now a popular plant for landscaping, with its dense interlacing orange branches providing strong texture in a garden – Muehlenbeckia astonii or shrubby toroaro is very rare in the wild. Seedlings and young plants are almost completely absent from all but one site that carries the bulk of the remaining plants. 

In 2000, the Department of Conservation published a plan for saving the species, and plants from many of the sites are being grown in gardens as insurance against the loss of wild plants. ESF is incorporating shrubby toroaro into its restoration project at Te Kopahou on Wellington’s south coast.