Tree to 15 m, 1 m dbh. Branchlets slender, with pale bark. Leaves evergreen and leathery, (3.5–)5–9(–12) × (0.7–)1–2.5(–3.5) cm, lanceolate or narrowly lanceolate, glabrous, upper surface glossy, four to six (to seven) secondary veins on each side of the midrib, though inconspicuous, margins entire, apex acuminate to acute; petiole 0.4–1.1 cm long, slightly pubescent. Monoecious or dioecious. Racemes axillary or ramiflorous, decus-sate, one to three per axil, 1–3 cm long and bearing 5–10(–17) flowers. Flowers rather insignificant, unisexual or rarely hermaphrodite, pale greenish white; calyx campanulate with four irregular lobes; corolla absent; stamens two to four (to six). Drupe ellipsoid to oblong, 0.8–1.2 cm long, crimson, red or orange. Flowering November to January, fruiting December to February (New Zealand). Allan 1961, Green 1963, Salmon 1980. Distribution NEW ZEALAND: North Is. (widespread), South Is. (north only). Habitat Lowland and lower montane forest. USDA Hardiness Zone 8–9. Conservation status Not evaluated. Taxonomic note This species is similar to N. cunninghamii, though slightly smaller, with narrower leaves and paler branchlets. A hybrid (N. cunninghamii × N. lanceolata) is relatively common in the wild.
A 4.5 m tree of unknown origin at Logan Botanic Garden is the only specimen of Nestegis lanceolata traced in our area in the research for New Trees. It seems to be doing well, making a neat, openly columnar shape, from the many stiffly ascending branches that arise from just above the base. The leaves are a dull dark green, with a paler midrib. The tree was in bud when observed in August 2006.