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Clianthus maximus

Kaka beak

About the plant

This woody shrub is one of only two species of Clianthus, a genus endemic to New Zealand.

  • Vulnerable

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of the world’s species. The ongoing mission is to evaluate every plant species in the world.

    IUCN Red List Status:

    Not yet evaluated
    Data deficient
    Least concern
    Near threatened
    Vulnerable
    Endangered
    Critically endangered
    Extinct in the wild
    Extinct
  • Click on icon to reveal more

Facts

  • Small populations on the east coast of North Island
  • Acutely threatened in the wild
  • Striking flowers
  • Widespread in cultivation

Kaka beak

The plant’s unusual common name refers to an endangered New Zealand parrot, known locally as the kaka (Nestor meridionalis).

The flowers resemble the beak of the parrot, and both plant and parrot share the same forests together.


Colenso

This plant was first described in 1885 by William Colenso, a Cornishman who travelled to New Zealand to work as a printer and missionary in the 1830s.

Colenso became an accomplished plant hunter and botanist, and sent many dried plant specimens to Joseph Hooker, Director of Kew (1865–1885). The specimens have been held here ever since.


Local conservation

One of New Zealand’s first conservation programmes was set up to protect this species.  Plants in the wild were fenced in to keep out browsing animals and a local nursery was set up to raise plants for reintroduction into the wild.

The name kaka beak references the endangered parrot, the kaka
  • Vulnerable

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of the world’s species. The ongoing mission is to evaluate every plant species in the world.

    IUCN Red List Status:

    Not yet evaluated
    Data deficient
    Least concern
    Near threatened
    Vulnerable
    Endangered
    Critically endangered
    Extinct in the wild
    Extinct
  • Click on icon to reveal more

Related readings

More about Joseph Hooker