The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is asking people whether 12 exotic houseplant species should be allowed in Aotearoa New Zealand.
New Zealand Plant Producers Inc (NZPPI) has applied for approval to release 12 houseplant species that originate from the hot and humid rainforests of Central and South America, southeast Asia and China.
Among the species being considered are plants with names to match their elaborate foliage - jewel orchid ( Macodes petola), peacock peperomia ( Peperomia albovittata), trailing jade ( Peperomia rotundifolia) and bridal bouquet ( Plumeria pudica).
NZPPI says an "insatiable demand for new houseplant species" and New Zealand enthusiasts’ lack of access to varieties that are popular overseas are among the reasons for this application.
The applicant also states approval for these plants will improve mental and emotional wellbeing, create jobs and remove the temptation for smuggling.
Nine of the plants are already in Aotearoa New Zealand and are sometimes traded commercially or on social media platforms by "plant parents", "plantfluencers" and collectors. The application seeks to resolve their legal status.
NZPPI also wants to release three new species not currently known to be in New Zealand.
Houseplants are the fastest-growing plant category in retail stores, and enthusiasts trade and buy them to build collections that can reach upwards of 200 plants.
If the application is approved, the plants would no longer be classified as new organisms in New Zealand and they could be released without restriction, under the HSNO Act.
The houseplants would be sold mainly through wholesale and retail stores, commercial plant hire and event displays, and for public display in botanical garden collections.
This public consultation enables the wider public and those in relevant industries to provide additional information on the risks and benefits of releasing these 12 houseplant species.
Submitters can provide information, make comments, and raise issues to contribute to the EPA decision-making process.
Submissions close at midnight on 19 October 2022.
- The EPA manages risks to the environment, the health and safety of people, Māori culture and traditions, and the market economy from organisms that are new to New Zealand. We do this without limiting New Zealand’s future potential for innovation.
- Houseplant species included in the application:
- Alocasia micholitziana (green velvet taro)
- Anthurium clarinervium (velvet cardboard anthurium)
- Anthurium veitchii (king anthurium)
- Goeppertia orbifolia (orbifolia prayer plant)
- Macodes petola (jewel orchid)
- Peperomia albovittata (peacock peperomia)
- Peperomia pecuniifolia (trailing jade)
- Peperomia quadrangularis (beetle peperomia)
- Peperomia rotundifolia (creeping buttons)
- Plumeria pudica (bridal bouquet)
- Pilea peperomioides (Chinese money plant)
- The three new species are Peperomia albovittata, Peperomia quadrangularis, and Plumerica pudica.
- Organisms that can be proven to have been in New Zealand prior to 29 July 1998, when the HSNO Act took effect, are not classified as new organisms.