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


Leionema nudum (Mairehau)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Leionema
Species: L. nudum
Binomial Name: Leionema nudum (nudum = naked)
Synonym: Phebalium nudum
Common names: Mairehau, Māireire

Leionema nudum is a native shrub that endemic to the lowland forests of the North Island where it is locally distributed from Te Paki south to Pukenui Hill, Kawhia in the west and the northern Kaimai Range in the east. It is rather uncommon south of Auckland and Thames.

Leionema nudum has many branches and grows to a height of 4 m. The branchlets are slender with a reddish bark that is covered in stellate hairs (a hair that is split into several strands at the free end). The stiff, undivided, linear-oblong, alternate, brownish-green leaves are 20-40 mm long and are arranged along stem. Their margins are toothed and both surfaces are dotted with oil glands. The leaves and terminal branchlets when crushed give off a pleasant aromatic odour. This is because they contain a clear, greenish-yellow essential oil. This oil contains citral, citronellal, cinnamic acid, camphene, limonene, and isoborneol. The Māori used the crushed leaves as a perfume.
In October it has clusters of white bisexual flowers (8-13 mm diam.) which have 5 petals and eight to ten long stamens and the sepals are minute. The ovary which sticks up above the petals has 4-5 ridges and a long style.
The fertilisation flowers develop into 4-lobed fruit. The fruits dry and each contains four compartments containing 1-2 seeds.

Photographed at Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton's Bush Reserve. 

The upper surface of a leaf with oil glands visible. 

The underside of a leaf with notched margins.


  

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