Like a lot of vines, Parsonsia leaves are very variable, sometimes with quite spectacularly different shapes occurring at adjacent nodes on a stem. The leaves of young plants can be elongated with sinuous margins, elongated with an expanded tip, broad and elliptical, or even lobed at the base (Allan 1961 has an illustration), but the adult leaves are more consistently ovate. Probably because of this variability, quite a few species have been described, but these were reduced to two by the time of Allan's Flora (Allan 1961), P. heterophylla and P. capsularis, to which P. praeruptis, a distinctive scrambling shrub from Surville Cliffs, Northland, was added recently (Heads & de Lange 1999).
|Parsonsia heterophylla at Tunnel Gully, Hutt Valley.|
|Parsonsia heterophylla at Birdwood Reserve, Karori, Wellington.|
|Parsonsia heterophylla fruits, line scale is 10 mm.|
|Parsonsia heterophylla seeds, line scale is 10 mm|
Allan, H.H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand Vol 1. Government Printer, Wellington
Heads, M.J.; de Lange, P.J. 1999. Parsonsia praeruptis (Apocynaceae): A new threatened, ultramafic endemic from North Cape, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 37: 1–6.
Sykes, W.R. 1988. Apocynaceae, in Webb, C.J.; Sykes, W.R.; Garnock-Jones, P.J. Flora of New Zealand Vol. 4. DSIR, Christchurch.