Ascarina lucida Hook.f. (Chloranthaceae) is a small tree species endemic to New Zealand. The distribution of A. lucida suggests an inability to survive severe frosts or droughts. Therefore, peaks in the abundance of A. lucida in pollen records have usually been interpreted as indicating periods of mild, moist climates. The environmental tolerance of A. lucida seedlings to climatic extremes was experimentally tested by exposing seedlings to frost, drought, and waterlogged soil conditions. This research confirms the sensitivity of A. lucida to climatic extremes.