Euphrasia cuneata (North Island Eyebright)
Species: E. cuneata
Binomial name: Euphrasia cuneata
Common name: North Island eyebright, Eyebright, tūtūmako, tūtae-kiore
Euphrasia cuneata is a native perennial herb or sub-shrub which can grow up to 60 cm high. The leaves are variable in shape. The flowers are white, with yellow on the 1.5–2 cm long lower petal.
E. cuneata is widespread on North Island mountains from Mt Ruapehu, south, including Mt Egmont/Taranaki. In the South Island it is found in coastal areas.
Europeans arriving in New Zealand used the common name eyebright to refer to this plant, as they would have seen similarities between this species and its European relative Euphrasia officinalis which has a long history of use by humans for the treatment of conjunctivitis and other eye complaints. Though the common New Zealand name refers to the European species it was not used for the eyes here.
In Maoridom it traditionally played a role in spiritual cleansing being used along with harakeke, toetoe and bracken fern as a preferred pathway for the soul when it leaves the body.
It roots were used in a formula with harakeke, thistle and dock roots, and plantain, for expelling the placenta after birth. (Parsons 1985).
Photographed January Mt Egmont/Taranaki January.
Flowering early June at Maikaikatea, inland of Uriti, North Taranaki
Looking at at the back of the flower.
Looking at flower from below.
Photo showing the shape of the very small leaf that is nearly 1 cc long including the petiole.
The underside of a leaf with distinctive veins.