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More Native Plant Profiles

Smaller Trees

Trees give a sense of scale in the garden, drawing the eye upwards, even more important in a small area than in a large garden. Gardeners with smaller spaces can grow and enjoy many native trees, there are some natives, such as the lancewood (Pseudopanax crassifolium) ideally suited to courtyard gardens and suburban sections. There is a native tree that will look splendid in your garden.

P. crassifolius

Pseudopanax crassifolius

Pseudopanax crassifolius, the lancewood, is one of our more interesting plants- strongly vertical in their juvenile form, they develop into a small round-headed tree with a slender trunk when mature. P. crassifolius can be slow to mature, however, the numerous hybrids now available mature more quickly than the true species. The form shown above is a hybrid that branches early, although still stronly linear in form, making this a pretty small tree.
Cultivation Plant in a shady spot in a moist (but not sodden) and loamy soil. Do not allow to dry out when young.
Propagation Seeds, cuttings from mature trees

Pseudopanax ferox, Fierce lancewood

Pseudopanax ferox, Fierce lancewood
Juvenile (front) and mature forms

Alectryon excelsus, 'Titoki'

Alectryon excelsus, 'Titoki'

Sometimes called the 'New Zealand oak', the Titoki is an extremely beautiful tree well suited to providing shade in a suburban garden. It can also be usefully planted as a screen or shelter.

The large leaves are glossy, bright green and pinnate (divided). The tree will reach between 4.0 and 8.0m depending on conditions. The flowers are tiny and followed by bright red seed capsules containing many shiny black seeds that are favoured by native birds.
Cultivation Frost tender when young. Most soils. Prefers some shelter from strong winds.
Propagation Seed

Alectryon excelsus, 'Titoki'

Titoki leaves are glossy, bright green and pinnate

Aristotelia serrata

Aristotelia serrata
Wineberry, Makomako

Wineberry is one of the showier flowering natives, large clusters of small wine-coloured flowers appear on the tree in spring and early summer, followed by juicy black berries. Soft green foliage is tinged purple beneath
Cultivation A bush and fringe dweller grows in most soils but dislikes dry conditions. Can be frost tender, especially when young
Propagation Seed

Leptospermum scoparium, Manuka
Leptospermum scoparium, Manuka

Manuka (sometimes called Tea tree) is a small twiggy tree with small dark green leaves. The white single flowers, sometimes blushed with pink, are carried over an extremely long season, covering the bush. The hybridists have brought us many more cultivars from the deep 'Red Damask' to pure white as well as dwarf forms.
Cultivation Good, moist soils with partial shade, at least while young. Water well especially when young, and don't leave a new plant sitting before planting, they resent disturbance and you increase the potential for a fatal drought. Blight, actually the secretion of a scale insect, is unsightly; you can treat it or accept it.
Propagation Seed, Cuttings

L.s. 'Red Damask'

L. s. 'Red Damask'

Marbled foliage of Putaputaweta

Carpodetus serratus,
Putaputaweta, Marble Leaf

Putaputaweta is wonderfully tangled, although not quite divaricating, when young. The green leaves are marbled white and deeply serrated when young, less so as the tree matures and the branches straighten to form a small, spreading tree of about 5.0m (16ft). Clusters of white, scented flowers appear in spring.
Cultivation Prefers moist soils and can be frost tender when young.
Propagation Seed

Griselinea littoralis, Broadleaf

Broadleaf is a widely spread native, occuirng in lowland forests and coastal areas. Older trees have a wonderful knarled appearance and the thick glossy 'apple-green' leaves have made this tree a staple foliage plant abroad. Great for shelter and hedging as well as a folaige plant
Cultivation Grows in most soils and conditions but can be frost tender when young.
Propagation Seed, cuttings

Weimannia racemosa, Kamahi

Weimannia racemosa, Kamahi

A widespread lowland and coastal tree that produces cream racemes of flowers in early summer. As a mature tree hasa spreading habit. The foliage is especially fine, crinkled green leaves with reddish margins and stems, more so in cold weather, making this the florists 'native beech' a misnomer that nothing seems to budge! Grows to 3.0-6.0m (10-20ft).
Cultivation Prefers moist soils similar to its forest origins, but copes with sun if given a shaded root run. Avoid dry soils. Frost hardy.
Propagation Seed, Cuttings

Tree Fuchsia or Kotukutuku
Fuchsia excorticata
Fuchsia excorticata's cinnamon, peeling bark

Fuchsia excorticata has the distinction of being the largest fuchsia in the world, it is also one of the few deciduous native trees. Older specimens in bush or in farmland are remarkable for their pinkish-cinnamon coloured, peeling bark. The flowers, appearing from spring through summer, are small with deep red-maroon outer petals and followed by juicy berries, afavoured bird-food.
Cultivation Good, moist soils with partial shade, at least while young.
Propagation Seed, Cuttings
Fuchsia excorticata
Fuchsia excorticata flowers

Elaeocarpus dentatus
Elaeocarpus dentatus, Hinau

Elaeocarpus dentatus , hinau, is a slow growing small tree from the lowland forests growing to around 18.0m (60ft), in the garden it seldom reaches more than 3.0m-10.0m (10-30ft). The leaves are long, narrow and grey-green with a serrated edge. In early summer clusters of creamy-white flowers, with a picotee edge, appear, followed by purple fruit that the birds love.
Cultivation Good, rich soils that stay moist, prefers the partial shade of the bush. Not always easy in the garden.
Propagation Cuttings, Seed (slow to germinate)

See Also
Mertya sinclairii, Puka
Metrosideros excelsa, Pohutukawa
Sophora, Kowhai

More NativesMore New Zealand Native Plants or select below

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Last revised 06 Mar '03