New Zealand Native plants

Leptospermum scoparium, Manuka is found all throughout New Zealand but is particularly common on the drier east coasts of the North Island and the South Island. Manuka (from Māori ‘mānuka’) is the name used in New Zealand. It is a prolific scrub type tree and is often one of the first species to regenerate on cleared land. It is typically a shrub growing to 2-5 m tall, but can grow into a moderately sized tree, up to 15 m or so in height. It is evergreen, with dense branching and small leaves 7-20 mm long and 2-6 mm broad, with a short spine tip. The flowers are white, occasionally pink, 8-15 mm (rarely up to 25 mm) diameter, with five petals. This species is oft en confused with the closely related species Kānuka. The easiest way to tell the difference between them is to feel their foliage - Manuka leaves are prickly while Kanuka leaves are soft. The wood is tough and hard, and was often used for tool handles. Manuka sawdust imparts a delicious flavour when used for smoking meats and fish. Manuka products have high antibacterial potency for a limited spectrum of bacteria and are widely available in New Zealand. Similar properties led the Māori to use parts of the plant as natural medicine.

Kunzea ericoides, Kanuka is widespread particularly in coastal scrub and colonizing land recovering after a fire or reverting to a natural state after being used for agriculture. However it has been recorded growing to altitudes of 2000 metres above sea level. With its small but abundant flowers it can colour a whole hillside white — almost giving the appearance of snow cover. The wood is very hard and although not durable in the ground it is used for wharf piles and tool handles. It is particularly popular as firewood as it burns with a great heat. In New Zealand, Kānuka can grow up to 30 metres high with a trunk up to one metre across. A variety of Kānuka, the Prostrate Kānuka, Kunzea ericoides var. microflora is one of the few plants that can survive hot grounds in the immediate surroundings of geothermal features like fumaroles and craters, for instance at “Craters of the Moon” (Karapiti), a geothermal area close to Taupo.

Phormium tenax, Harakeke New Zealand flax produces long leaf fi bres that have played an important role in the culture, history, and economy of New Zealand. Phormium tenax occurs naturally in New Zealand and Norfolk Island, while Phormium cookianum is endemic to New Zealand. Both species have been widely distributed to temperate regions of the world as economic fibre and ornamental plants. Phormium tenax is found mainly in swamps or low lying areas but will grow just about anywhere and is also much propagated in gardens as an evergreen decorative plant, both in New Zealand and now worldwide. The tough, sword-shaped leaves grow up to three metres long and up to 125 mm wide. The rigid flower stalks can be up to five metres long, projecting high above the foliage. In November they produce clumps of curving tube-like flowers which turn bright red when mature. These produce unusually large quantities of nectar to attract all nectar feeding birds such as the tui and insects. The seedpods that develop after pollination, each contain hundreds of seeds which are later widely dispersed by the wind. For centuries, Māori have drawn the abundant nectar from the flowers as a general sweetener. Myriad medicinal uses makes the plant even more important to the everyday health of Māori.

Coprosma robusta, Karamu is the Māori name given to the tree Coprosma robusta and Coprosma lucida two of the 45 Coprosma species found in New Zealand. Coprosma robusta is found in lowland forest or shrub throughout New Zealand and almost to the south of the South Island. It has dark green leaves approximately 5-13cm long and 3-4 cm wide. The tree itself is either a shrub or small tree that can grow up to 6m tall. The stipules have a single, shiny black gland at the tips. When berries are present, they are orange, 8-9mm long and can take up to a year to ripen.

Coprosma rhamnoides has an intensively divaricating habit and is found throughout New Zealand in scrub and forest. Berries range from claret red to almost black. Rhamnoides is found in scrub and forest areas throughout New Zealand. It is a dense and twiggy shrub with very tiny rounded leaves. The berries on female plants turn dark red to almost black on ripening and provides food for birds and insects. The rhamnoides grows to a height of 2 – 3 meters in full sun and semi shade.

Muehlenbeckia complexa, Pohuehue commonly known as maidenhair vine, creeping wire vine, lacy wire vine, angel vine, matt ress vine, mattress wire weed, necklace vine, and wire vine, is an ornamental plant in the Polygonaceae family, which is native from New Zealand. It is quite vigorous and probably the best species for trimming and topiary. It is semi-deciduous, growing to 15 ft (4.5m) or more up suitable supports, and produces swollen white berries with black seeds. This species can become quite weedy in suitable climates if not restrained.

Hebe diosmifolia, is an evergreen bushy shrub, growing to about 40 in (1 m). It has narrow, lance-shaped, dark green leaves, which tend to lie in one plane; about 0.7 in (18 mm) long; the edges are minutely incised. The flowers are pale lilac and form in clusters near the branch tips in later spring. This hebe is tender in the UK, although it might tolerate a light frost. This hebe is found in scrub and forest edges to the north of the North Island where its distribution is rare and local. A variable species which is widely grown in New Zealand.

Hebe ligustrifolia, Koromiko is an evergreen bushy shrub, which grows to about 40 in (1 m) high. The thin, spear-shaped leaves are yellow-green, 0.8–2 in (2–5 cm) long. The flowers are very pale lavender, fading to white. This hebe is found in scrub and forest edges near the coast, from Cape Reinga to Whangarei Heads, in the east and north of the North Island, New Zealand. It is rare in cultivation in the UK, and would be tender.

Hebe stricta, Koromiko There are known to be approximately 100 species in the genus Hebe, with about 80 of them being endemic to New Zealand. Species are widely spread throughout New Zealand, occupying widely different ecological niches. As well as being our largest genus of plants they are a major element in many ornamental native plant gardens due to their hardiness, ease of propagation by seed or cutting plus the superior colours of their terminal flowers. The fruit of Hebe is a partially flattened or compressed dry capsule containing between 4 and 42 seeds per capsule, depending upon the species concerned and the size of the seed. A large healthy plant may produce thousands of seeds per plant.

Geniostoma rupestre, Hangehange Shrub – usually up to four metres and is an extremely common shrub, particularly around forest margins. It grows quickly in highlight conditions. It has small inconspicuous flowers, which turn into green capsules and then split to release seeds in Autumn.

Corokia cotoneaster, Korokia Wire-netting bush. This Corokia occurs naturally throughout New Zealand on the coast. Korokio grows into a dense hardy shrub, with a tight divaricating form - wiry branches and tangled growth. It has small grey leaves, black stems, yellow flowers and red berries. It is much slower growing than the hybrids Corokias. When clipped it forms an excellent low to medium sized hedge. Height 2m x width 1.5. It is tolerant of dry and exposed situations including salt winds. It tolerates poor soils. Cordyline australis, Ti Kouka The cabbage tree known as Tīrākau or Tī Kōuka (and, more rarely, whanake) in the Māori language is a monocotyledon endemic to New Zealand. It grows up to 15 m tall, at first on a single stem, but dividing into a much-branched crown; each branch may fork after producing a flowering stem.

Because their high carbohydrate content can be made digestible by cooking, they were a valuable food source for the Māori. Fern root was the only other substantial native carbohydrate source. Early missionaries brewed a tolerable beer from it. The commercial value remains to be fully examined. Some of the possibilities include being used as a low-calorie sweetener (because it is twice as sweet as sugar) and as an ethanol source.

Natives, New Zealand Native Trees Nursery