Carmichaelia australis is a small to large shrub with spreading erect and flattened to round photosynthetic stems. Meaning that instead of leaves, the stems are flattened to catch the sunlight. It is a hardy fast growing upright broom. Seedlings and occasionally young plants have small leaves but these are absent on adults. Flowers are small, white with purple veins and sometimes purple centres. A highly variable, endemic plant that encompasses a number of previously separate species.
Carmichaelia australis is found in lowland and mid-montane sites throughout New Zealand except in the far south. Found throughout New Zealand with various forms having local distributions. This native broom grows in shrublands and forest margins where it prefers full sunlight. From spring through to summer, it has small 5-6 mm white flowers with purple veins and sometimes has purple centres. The seeds are yellow, orange or red often with black dots. The seeds are distributed when the seedpod bursts so the seed travels only short distances, compared to wind and bird-dispersed seed.
Often found in dry woodland plant communities that include but are not limited to Olearia paniculata , Pittosporum tenuifolium, Discaria toumatou, Melicytus alpinus, Poa cita, and Muehlenbeckia axillaris.
For more information on plant communities, we recommend DOC’s publication Native Plant Communities of the Canterbury Plains.