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


Euphrasia cuneata (North Island Eyebright)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Euphrasia
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 it's 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 was 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 the back of the flower.
  

Looking at the 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.
 

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