Donatia novae-zelandiae

Distribution Map
Family: Stylidiaceae
Distribution: Alpine areas of Tasmania. Also occurs in New Zealand
Common Names: Cushion plant
Derivation of Name: Donatia....After Vitaliana Donati, an 18th century naturalist.
novae-zelandiae....New Zealand.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Donatia is a small genus of two species. One species, D.novae-zelandiae, is found in Tasmania and New Zealand while the other occurs in South America. Donatia is one of the genera that makes up the alpine "cushion plants", a group that is characterised by a moss-like habit of growth. The group includes numerous species from several unrelated genera.

Donatia novae-zelandiae
Donatia novae-zelandiae
Photo: Harry Loots

D.novae-zelandiae has small, linear leaves occurring on prostrate stems that often form roots along their length. It forms a mounded, cushion-like appearance up to about 1 metre in diameter. Small white flowers about 5 mm in diameter occur scattered over the plant at the ends of the small branches in late spring and summer.

Like other cushion plants, D.novae-zelandiae is not often cultivated and, as a result of its natural habitat in boggy, alpine areas, has fairly specific cultural requirements. It is best suited to cold climates and peat-like soils that are constantly moist. Protection from full sun may be required in non-alpine areas. Cultivation in containers may also be worth trying.

Seed is virtually unavailable and germination requirements are unknown. It is reported that cuttings strike reasonably well.

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