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


Coprosma repens (Taupata)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Coprosma
Species: C. repens
Binomial name: Coprosma repens
Synonyms: Coprosma baueriana, Coprosma retusa, Coprosma stockii, Coprosma perpusilla subsp. subantarctica , Coprosma pumila
Common names: Taupata, Naupata,  Mirror Bush, Looking-glass Bush, New Zealand Laurel, Shiny Leaf, Creeping mirror plant,  Looking glass plant, Mirror plant, .

Coprosma repens is a shrub or small tree that is native to New Zealand. This shiny-leaved coprosma forms a low forest around the exposed coasts of the  North Island and northern tip of the South Island, Kermadec Islands and Three Kings Islands. 
It is a remarkably resilient plant, with an ability to adapt to a variety of situations - a small, stunted, often prostrate shrub or bizarrely contorted tree growing on or among rocks apparently devoid of soil in exposed coastal situations, or a tree six metres or more high with its dazzling bright-green foliage reflecting the sunlight in a protected situation with rich soil.
Flowers are produced in spring and summer, the male flowers appearing in dense, compound clusters, the female flowers in smaller clusters. Female plants produce orange-red ovoid drupes which are around 8 mm in diameter and 10 mm in length.
The fruit are orange to orange-red berries. They are highly attractive to birds, and can also be eaten by people, although it seems that they were only occasionally part of the traditional Maori diet, at least for adults. 
The seeds, although small, can be roasted and provide a potable coffee substitute (the Coprosmas are members of the coffee family, Rubiaceae).
The Coprosma repens was one of the Coprosmas associated with cleansing rituals to counteract or forestall spiritual or physical contamination or illness, although other species such as C. robusta and C. lucida were more commonly used for these purposes.

Trees planted New Plymouth harbour area. 

A Coprosma repens growing on a seaside cliff


Male flower buds and male flowers.



The top surface of the leaves and a few female flowers can be seen bottom right.


Female flowers with last years fruit.




Ripe fruit.


The top surface of a leaf.


Underside of leaf.  Notice the domatia.
 

Coprosma repens domatia  (plant cavities) on underside of a leaf.   


The distinctive short stipule and many small glands