Kirk’s daisy

Kirks’ daisy Brachyglottis kirkii var.kirkii has a threat status of declining.It is still found on the Coromandel Ranges and northern Kaimai Mamaku range, the west coast and King Country, Pirongia and Pureora Forest.

Kirk’s daisy is an epiphyte which grows in lowland to lower montane (mountain) forest although it sometimes grows on the forest floor.

An epiphyte is a plant that grows on another but does extract sustenance from the host on which it sits which is the case with parasitic plants. It is a spring flowering plant and grows to 1.5 m tall with purple stems and grey bark developed on old wood.

The leaves are variable in shape, usually toothed in upper third, hairless, with the upper surface of the leaf being pale to dark green and often tinged maroon. Flowers are 30 by 40 mm in diameter and borne in dense flower heads of 3 to 20 flowers. The individual daisy-like flowers have white petals.

The fruits are dry, windborne and can be likened to dandelion seed fruit structures. Flowering occurs during August to October and fruiting from October to December.It is a very attractive species, however because it is usually epiphytic, it is often well out of reach and rarely at eye level. It can be confused with the two pittosporum epiphytes. These pittosporums however do not have daisy like flowers.

This plant is browsed by possums, goats and deer and as such it has become confined to a smaller area. It was once found in forests all over the Waikato and Coromandel areas. Watch out for it if you are tramping in the forests where it can be found.

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