Soil orders

Recent Soils [R]

The highest recorded carrot production in the world was from a Recent Soil on the Taieri Plain.

Recent Soils are weakly developed, showing limited signs of soil-forming processes. A distinct topsoil is present but a B horizon is either absent or only weakly expressed.

Recent sandy soil under pine forest,  Nelson.
Recent sandy soil under pine forest, Nelson.
Typic Rocky Recent.
Typic Rocky Recent.


Recent soils occur throughout New Zealand on young land surfaces, including alluvial floodplains, unstable steep slopes, and slopes mantled by young volcanic ash. Their age varies depending on the environment and soil materials, but most are less than 1000 to 2000 years old. They cover 6% of New Zealand.

View map View map of Recent soils.

Physical properties

The soils have variable soil texture, with common stratification of contrasting materials, and spatial variability is high. They are generally deep rooting and have high plant-available water capacity.

Chemical properties

Natural fertility is usually high with high base saturation. The clay mineralogy is usually dominated by illite.

Biological properties

A continuous cover of vascular plants is normally well established.

Soil groups

Soil orders are divided into soil groups based on variation in factors such as drainage status, parent material, chemical and physical properties

[RH] Hydrothermal Recent

Soils naturally warmed by geothermal activity

[RX] Rocky Recent

Rock at shallow depths

[RS] Sandy Recent

Dominated by sand or loamy sand to depth

[RF] Fluvial Recent

In sediments deposited by flowing water

[RT] Tephric Recent

In sediments originating as volcanic ejecta

[RO] Orthic Recent

Other Recent Soils