Story: Native plants and animals – overview

Divaricating shrub

Divaricating shrub

A feature of New Zealand plants are small-leaved shrubs and low-growing trees with densely interlaced stems – a growth form referred to as divaricating. Stems spread apart at wide angles and leaves are often small with little available for potential browsers. Botanists hold two theories on why so many plants exhibit these features. One theory is that it was to avoid browsing by moa. The other theory is that it is an adaptation to a dry, windy or frosty climate.

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How to cite this page:

Bob Brockie, 'Native plants and animals – overview - Unusual plant features', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 December 2021)

Story by Bob Brockie, published 24 Sep 2007