Canterbury subalpine

The sub-alpine region is dominated by various species of snow tussock, occupying a range of environmental conditions. The broad-leaved snow tussock (Chionochloa flavescens) and red tussock/hau mata (Chionochloa rubra) prefer wetter sites, where as the narrow-leaved snow tussock/wï kura (Chionochloa rigida) and the slim-leaved snow tussock (Chionochloa macra) prefer drier sites.

Shrub species are also common in the sub-alpine environment and form extensive communities, commonly referred to as a sub-alpine shrub zone. Snow tōtara (Podocarpus nivalis), mountain toatoa (Phyllocladus alpinus), porcupine shrub (Melicytus alpinus), species of turpentine shrubs (Dracophyllum), Hebes/koromiko, and Coprosma/karamū species are common throughout this area.

An important part of the sub-alpine flora is a wide diversity of herbaceous plant species. Common species include the mountain daisies (Celmisia/tikumu), speargrass/taramea (Aciphylla), small tussocks and grasses - such as mountain fescue (Festuca matthewsii) and carpet grass (Chionochloa australis), gentians and mountain buttercups/kawariki (Ranunculus). Mats, or cushion plants, designed to withstand harsh conditions, are also a feature of sub-alpine flora. Vegetable sheep, such as Raoulia exima, are an excellent example of the cushion plant habit.

Two threatened species found growing in the sub-alpine zone in Canterbury are Pittosporum patulum and Hebe cupressoides.

Source: Native plants of subalpine areas of Canterbury : DOC

Trees/Shrubs Grasses/Flaxes
 Acaena caesiiglauca   Aciphylla aurea taramea, golden spaniard
 Acaena inermis   Aciphylla montana
 Aristotelia fruticosa, mountain wineberry  Aciphylla scott-thomsonii
 Brachyglottis bellidioides  Aciphylla subflabellata
 Brachyglottis bennetii  Celmisia semicordata, false spaniard
 Brachyglottis cassinioides  Chionochloa conspicua, hunangämoho
 Carmichaelia crassicaule   Chionochloa flavescens, broad leaved snow tussock
 Carmichaelia grandiflora  Chionochloa rigida, wï kura, narrow leaved snow tussock
 Carmichaelia petriei desert broom  Chionochloa rubra, haumata, red tussock
 Carmichaelia uniflora  Festuca matthewsii, alpine fescue tussock
 Coprosma atropurpurea  Festuca novae-zelandiae, fescue tussock
 Coprosma ciliata  Poa colensoi, blue tussock
 Coprosma propinqua  Poa macra
 Coprosma rugosa  
 Coprosma 'Taylorii’  
 Coriaria angustissima  
 Coriaria sarmentosa  
 Corokia cotoneaster, korokio  
 Craspedia uniflora woollyhead  
 Discaria toumatu, matagouri, tümatakuru  
 Hebe buchananii  
 Hebe cupressoides  
 Hebe haastii  
 Hebe macrantha  
 Hebe odora  
 Hebe pinguifolia  
 Hebe subalpina  
 Melicytus alpinus, porcupine shrub  
 Muehlenbeckia axillaris  
 Olearia cymbifolia shrub daisy  
 Olearia fimbriata  
 Olearia virgata  
 Ozothamus leptophylla, tauhinu, golden cottonwood  
 Phyllocladus alpinus mountain toatoa  
 Pimelea prostrata  
 Pittosporum patulum (T)  
 Podocarpus nivalis, snow totara  
 Ranunculus lyallii  
 Sophora microphylla, köwhai  
 Sophora prostrata, dwarf köwhai  

PLANT NAME (T = threatened, R = rare)