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Figure 12.13: Change in distribution of dactylanthus

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Woodrose (Dactylanthus taylorii)

Photo of Dactylanthus.

Dactylanthus is New Zealand's only fully parasitic flowering plant. It grows a root-like stem that is attached to the root of a host tree. The host tree moulds into the shape of a fluted wooden rose, giving the plant its common name, woodrose. It is pollinated by the lesser short-tailed bat.

This plant has never been considered common, and occurs in widely scattered sites. Currently there are likely to be only a few thousand remaining. Dactylanthus has the threat classification of serious declines. Threats to it include deforestation, collectors, and browsing by possums, rats, and pigs. Declines in species that are it natural pollinators and seed-dispersers probably also have an impact.

The management of Dactylanthus is guided by a recovery plan that incorporates the exclusion of predators by using simple cages, and by the hand-pollination of flowers.


Data source and photo: Courtesy of the Department of Conservation. 

Text description of figure

This figure shows the distribution of dactylanthus on a map of New Zealand: Its estimated pre-human distribution, during the 1970s and current distribution. It shows that its range has contracted and it now occupies about 4 per cent of its original range.