T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Stilbocarpa lyallii (Punui)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Subfamily: Aralioideae
Genus: Stilbocarpa
Species: S. lyallii
Binominal name: Stilbocarpa lyallii
Synonyms: Kirkophytum lyallii, Aralia lyallii
Common name: Punui

Stilbocarpa lyallii is a large-leaved, perennial, flowering, endemic, native, megaherb found only on the Titi Islands (Breaksea Islands) which are a southern chain of islands chain that lies to the south-west of Stewart Island, New Zealand. It has now been introduced Te Puka-Hereka (Coal Island) situated in Preservation Inlet (part of Fiordland) and to Ulva Island in the Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island.

Stilbocarpa lyallii grows to about 0.2 m high on hollow stems that are >1.5 cm in diameter. 
The plants have large, vivid green, kidney-shaped leaves are >30 cm. or wider. They have serrate margins with the teeth ending in a sharp point. Both surfaces of the leaves have prominent veins. 
The brown/reddish, 5 petaled flowers are arranged in compound umbels. They are hermaphrodite (having both male and female organs). The globular, black shiny seeds are 3•5 mm in diameter.

During historical times temporary flutes were made from the hollow stems by Māori while taking a break from the muttonbirding. The Māori mutton birders when returning to the mainland used to bring back bundles of it to eat as a cabbage. The large leaves were also used to wrap food before placing it in an umu (oven in the ground).


Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/