Myoporum insulare (Australian ngaio)
Species: M. insulare
Binomial name: Myoporum insulare
Synonyms: Bertolonia glandulosa, Myoporum adscendens, Myoporum glandulosum, Myoporum mucronulatum, Myoporum serratum var. glandulosum, Myoporum serratum var. obovatum, Myoporum tasmanicum, Myoporum tetrandrum var. adscendens, Myoporum tetrandrum var. glandulosum.
Common names: Coastal boobialla, Australian ngaio, Boobialla, Tasmanian ngaio. Native Juniper, Blueberry Tree.
This plant is poisonous
Myoporum insulare is a shrub which occurs naturally on dunes and coastal cliffs in Australia and has been planted in many coastal areas of New Zealand as a shelter or wind break. It was presumably planted in the mistaken belief that it was Myoporum laetum (Ngaio). It is listed in the National Pest Plant Accord.
Myoporum insulare is an upright or spreading, densely bushy shrub or small tree, with many branches from the base and is found growing in sandy sites behind beaches. It has distinctive elongated leaves (up to 9 cm long) which are dotted with nearly transparent pellucid glands (foliar secretory cavities). It has green leaf buds (M. laetum buds are black to blackish green) and the leaves are either untoothed or toothed toward the apex.
The white flowers with purple spots appear in the leaf axils in clusters of 3 to 8 and are 6 to 8 mm in diameter flowers are solitary or a few only in the leaf axils and are 7-8 mm across with white, purple-dotted petals. Flowering occurs September, October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May, June.
Its fruit is a drupe, about 6 mm across, shiny, and deep purple to black.
Warning: The Myoporum species are very poisonous plants and are mainly grow near the sea, either wild or in cultivation. They are easily identified by the numerous pale leaf spots (pellucid glands) seen when held to the light, and by the purple berries. Both the native ngaio (M. laetum) and Australian ngaio (M. insulare) should be regarded as equally harmful.
Myoporum insulare is a small tree with many branches from the base
The surface of the leaf dotted with nearly transparent pellucid glands. This leaf is toothed towards the apex.
The underside of a leaf.
An leaf with smooth margin.
Close up of a leaf's surface showing the translucent pellucid glands (foliar secretory cavities) that allows light to pass through but only diffusely.