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 an 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 seperate 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, dispite their bitter taste..
Griselinia littorali is in the same genus as Griselinia lucida Puka tree) which grows well in New Plymouth. Griselinia littorali 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 veneral 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)



Male flowers with prominent stamens. Photographed late October



Close up of the male flower

The flower buds early October

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