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Re-establishing a native food source


Dactylanthus taylorii or "pua o te reinga'" meaning 'plant of the underworld' in Māori, is a unique New Zealand plant. It is our only holo-parastic plant, meaning that it doesn't photosynthesize, instead it gets all its nutrients from its host. This plant can be found on the higher altitudes of Mt Pirongia, living on the roots of several tree species.

Dactylanthus produces huge volumes of nectar and is thought to be an important energy source for our native bats, birds and insects. It once grew throughout New Zealand forests but is now a threatened species. Possums are the main threat to dactylanthus along with rats and pigs.



to help us protect the plant of the underworld


Our aim is to re-establish plant colonies at the lower altitudes of the maunga, particularly in our pest control area.

Our dactylanthus group works in close partnership with DOC specialists, undertaking training in identification and record keeping, and they make about three trips a year to the mountain summit in order to check on the plant colonies there. This involves maintaining the cages which protect the plants from possum browse, caging any new plants found and recording flowering and seed set. 

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to help us protect the plant of the underworld


Timelapse videos showing the growth of dactylanthus

Dactylanthus nectar flow.

Dactylanthus buds opening

Dactylanthus at site 3

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