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


Griselinia littoralis (Broadleaf, Kapuka)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Griseliniaceae
Genus: Griselinia
Species: G. littoralis
Binomial name: Griselinia littoralis
Common name: Broadleaf, Kapuka, Papauma

Griselinia littoralis is native evergreen tree found throughout New Zealand in forests from sea level to 1000m, forming a dense bushy tree with has deep green oval leaves. It grows up to 20 m tall, though often much less, particularly in coastal exposure. It can tolerate a wide range of conditions. The leaves are alternate, leathery, glossy yellow-green above, paler and matt below, 6-14 cm long, oval with a smooth margin.
Griselinia littoralis produces male and female flowers on separate trees. They are borne on 2-5 cm long panicles, each panicle with 50-100 individual flowers, Male flowers are about 5mm diameter; females about 3mm diameter and both have petals.
The fruit is a small blackish berry and in time of food shortages, they were eaten, despite their bitter taste.
Griselinia littoralis is in the same genus as Griselinia lucida Puka tree) which grows well in New Plymouth. Griselinia littoralis is more cold tolerant than Griselinia lucida.

Traditional Maori use:
It was an opening medicine and the inner bark was used on scrofula (a tuberculous infection of the skin on the neck).and venereal disease.(from "Medical notes of New Zealand NZ Med by T.W.Bell 1890)
The timber was known for its durability. 

Griselinia littoralis photographed at Stratford Plateau Carpark, Pembroke Road, Egmont National Park.
 
 
Photographed on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.(click to enlarge)


The flower buds early October

Male flower.
 

Female flower

Top surface of a leaf
 

Underside of a leaf

Stem with bud scales below the leaves.

Trunk of a mature tree at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth
 

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