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

Discaria toumatou (Matagouri)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Tribe: Colletieae
Genus: Discaria
Species: D. toumatou
Binomial name: Discaria toumatou
Common names: Matagouri, Wild Irishman

Discaria toumatou is a plant endemic to New Zealand and the only one with thorns. Discaria toumatou is a tangle branched, extremely thorny shrub or small tree up to five metres tall. It is considered a weed in parts of the South Island but an endangered species in the North Island. As a native plant, it has complete protection on public conservation land and a degree of protection on private land under the Resource Management Act.
It is most common in tussock grassland, stony areas and river beds. It is common in the central and eastern of the South Island and found occasionally in the North Island south of the Waikato River. 
It has small leathery leaves (20mm long and 5 mm wide) close to the thorns, which are only abundant in spring, or the shade. The flowers are tiny and white with no petals.
The stems are stiff and interlaced with 5cc hard sharp thorns which alternating up the stems.
As with other Discaria species, it fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere with the help of symbiotic bacteria of the Frankia genus in its roots.
Matagouri can be found growing in tussock grasslands, lakesides, riverbeds and stony places.


A dead branch showing thorn structure.

The small shiny leaves.

The tiny white flowers with no petals (November)

November flowering 

The thorny interior of Discaria toumatou,

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