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Young tephra (<500 years) plains and hillslopes

Young tephra plains

Young tephra plains

Young tephra environments are formed of recent (<500 years) coarse (sand-gravel) pyroclastic deposits of acidic to basic volcanic rocks. At lower altitudes species such as toetoe (Austroderia fulvida ), bracken (Pteridium esculentum ), and tree tutu (Coriaria arborea ) colonise fine material, whereas more exposed surfaces may be colonised only by mosses and scabweeds (Raoulia  spp.) for many years.

Notable flora and fauna

Threatened and rare plants includeinclude nationally endangered Melicytus aff. alpinus (a) (CHR 541565; Rangipo), declining (Pimelea microphylla ), Thelymitra aff. longifolia (CHR 537579; Whakapapa). The intergeneric hybrid Olearia arborescens × Celmisia gracilenta is found only on Mt Tarawera.

Threat status

Vulnerable (Holdaway et al. 2012


Pines ( Pinus spp. ) have been a major problem on parts of Mt Tarawera and central the Volcanic Plateau. Ling heather (Calluna vulgaris ) is also a continuing potential threat on the central Volcanic Plateau. Lagomorphs and possums may be a problem. Off-road drivers and motorcyclists can be a threat in some areas.

Where do they occur?

Mt Taranaki, Mt Tarawera, Tongariro National Park, White Island (Whakaari).

Further reading

Clarkson BD 1990. A review of vegetation development following recent (less-than 450 Years) volcanic disturbance in North Island, New Zealand . New Zealand Journal of Ecology 14: 59-71.

Clarkson BD, Clarkson BR 1994. Vegetation decline following recent eruptions on White Island (Whakaari), Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.  New Zealand Journal of Botany 32: 21-36.

Clarkson BR, Clarkson BD 1983. Mt Tarawera: 2. Rates of change in the vegetation and flora of the high domes . New Zealand Journal of Ecology 6: 107-119.

Timmins SM 1983. Mt Tarawera: 1. Vegetation types and successional trends . New Zealand Journal of Ecology 6: 99-105.

Wardle P 1991. Vegetation of New Zealand . Cambridge University Press. Pp. 524-525.