This unusual shrub with a dense, twiggy habit is growing in the Terrace Garden.
Muehlenbeckia astonii is a New Zealand endemic found on both the North and South Islands, where it grows in coastal and lowland areas in scrub communities. Reaching 4m in height and width, the orange-tinged, zig-zagging (or divaricate) branches make a dense mass, and earn it the common name wiggywig. During summer it produces small obcordate leaves and discreet green-white, axillary flowers, though it is arguably most attractive in winter when the leafless stems are bedecked with shimmering raindrops. In its native habitat it is under threat from habitat destruction, non-native invasives, and isolation of individual specimens. A member of the knotweed family Polygonaceae, Muehlenbeckia contains 20 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs and woody climbers from the southern hemisphere.