Geniostoma ligustrifolium (Hangehange)
Sub Kingdom: Tracheobionta
Sub Class: Asteridae
Scientific name:Geniostoma ligustrifolium
Common Name: Hangehange, Maori privet, papa
Hangehange is a bushy shrub up to 4 m in height with slender brittle branches found mainly in lowland and coastal forests from the North Island to Marlborough.
The bright greens opposite shiny pointed oval leaves are 4-8 cm long and are soft and shiny.
It has tiny greenish white perfumed flowers in spring. The flowers are borne in groups (cymes) up to 3 cm in diameter at the base of leaves and along the branches and trunk of the bush (cauliflorous). Each flower has five, 3 mm long sepals that alternate with five petals that are joined into a 6 mm long green-to-white tube with spreading, hairy lobes. Five short stamens are around a single ovary. The black fruit develop late summer and are a 4-6 mm diameter dry capsule which splits into 2 valves. When the seed capsule opens it reveals seeds that are held within an enlarged pulpy placenta exposing only their dark tips.
Traditional use by the Maori - To add flavour, food was wrapped in the shiny leaves prior to steaming in the hangi. Its sap was applied to the skin and the bark was used for the itch (From "A leaf from the natural History of New Zealand" by R.A. Taylor 1848 2nd ed. 1870)
During October the ground under the Hangehange are covered with fallen flowers as in photo