Carmichaelia appressa is rare and endemic the gravelly, sandy loam, the stabilised sand dunes and the ridges of sand along Kaitorete spit, Canterbury which represent the former shores of Lake Ellesmere. Due to its small area of distribution, its conservation status is At Risk – Naturally Uncommon (2018) under the Department of Conservation’s Threat Classification System. Its habitat is very susceptible to damage by off-road motorbikes and 4WD vehicles and excavation for sand. However, a large part of its habitat is protected within a scientific reserve.
It most commonly occurs on immature soils without top soil development (sand flats). Carmichaelia appressa is distinguished from C. australis on Kaitorete Spit by its prostrate growth habit and yellow-green cladodes. Plants of C appressa and C. australis can often be found within 10-40 m however, C. australis needs top soil to grow.
Carmichaelia appressa is ideally suited to rock gardens or retaining walls where there is good drainage. It is a many-branched sprawling shrub forming mounds of apparently leafless branches. Leaves are found on seedlings and on new growth of young plants. During October – January it has dense, scented white pea flowers with purple streaks. It is a prostrate, fast-growing shrub. Excellent where drainage is good.