Parsonsia heterophylla (New Zealand Jasmine)
Species: P. heterophylla
Binomial name: Parsonsia heterophylla
Common name: New Zealand Jasmine, Kaihua, Akakiore
Parsonsia heterophylla is endemic to New Zealand and is in the genus of Parsonsia which are woody vines of the dogbane family. It is the larger of the two species of Parsonsia in New Zealand; the other is Parsonsia capsularis var. grandiflora which is only found from Auckland north. It has larger rounded leaves than P. heterophylla.
P. heterophylla is evergreen soft wooded, twining, branching liana growing up to 10 meters tall. Its stem can be up to 10cm and the branchlets are hairy and reddish brown in colour.
P. heterophylla is found in wet lowland forests throughout New Zealand from the Three Kings Island to Stewart Island. It is usually found in open habitats, such as bush margins.
It bears small white/creamy 6-10mm flowers which have a pervasive perfume. They appear in profusely in spring and then more intermittently through summer and autumn. The flowers are attractive to flies and moths which add in their pollination.
Flowers are followed by elongated pod-like capsules, the two follicles eventually separating to reveal numerous seeds with long silky hairs. Its seeds are dispersed by the wind.
P. heterophylla juvenile foliage has a wide variety of leaf forms which are markedly different to the uniform adult foliage which is dark green and shiny on the upper surface and pale on the undersides. The leaves are opposite.
Parsonsia heterophylla's long greeen seed pods
Seed pod have opened and have released their seeds.
The underside of a mature leaf.
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