Travelling south today through the Cromwell Gorge, near Champagne Creek (map link) Liz said that’s an Olearia lineata back there! So we screeched to stop and walked back – there were quite a cluster of these now rare twiggy tree daisies (Asteraceae). They have the divaricating forked branching habit common to many NZ plant families, bluish-green leaves, purplish young stems and VERY flaky bark. When not flowering they don’t stand out much and look like much of the surrounding ‘grey shrubland’ – a mix of native Discaria, Coprosma and Muehlenbeckia.
Olearia lineata are a keystone species supporting many invertebrates (5.3Mb pdf), as well as providing niches for native forest succession. They are threatened (and declining) due to land development which is common at their normal altitude.