Introducing Scabweed

Scabweed at Kaitorete Spit. Photo Courtesy Steve Attwood, Christchurch.

Scabweed at Kaitorete Spit. Photo Courtesy Steve Attwood, Christchurch.

Scabweed, a member of the Raoulia genus, mirrors the behaviour of alpine plants as it stretches in greyish-green mats across the dry dune coastal landscape of Kaitorete Spit near Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. Its low-growing mat formation protects it from the high winds, high temperature variance and the long, dry periods that characterize the spit.

Low to the ground, with tiny rosettes of silver leaves, it gives the dunes an almost desert-like appearance. In summer they bear small, pale yellow flowers.