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


Gaultheria antipoda (Snowberry)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Gaultheria
Species: Gaultheria antipoda 
Common name: Snowberry, False Beech, Fools Beech, Bush Snowberry, tawiniwini, takapo, taupuku,

Gaultheria antipoda is an erect or spreading evergreen shrub, which grows up to 1–2 m tall. It is native to lowland and montane forest, scrub and rocky places in the North, South and Stewart Islands of New Zealand.
It has leathery, shiny, alternate leaves that are round with bluntly serrated edges. The leaves are 5–15 mm long, dark green, shiny above and they have a network of veins on both surfaces.
In November it develops lots of small, white, bell-shaped flowers, singly at the leaf axils. The leaves on the branch tips are much reduced in size. (See photo of flowers below)
The flowers are followed by juicy white, pinkish, red, 10 mm fruit that ripens from late summer to autumn. The berry-like fruit is a swollen fleshy calyx that encloses a thin many-seededcapsule. They are edible but are rather insipid.

The early Maoris use to scrape the leaves and applied it to cuts as it has soothing and healing properties.

Photographed at Oparara River, Westcoast, South Island (February).

Gaultheria antipoda with red berries Oparara River, Westcoast, South Island (February).

Gaultheria antipoda with white berries Lake Taupo mid-January.


Gaultheria antipoda in flower in the Pureora forest, Waikato in early November.



The beech shaped leaves give the plant its common names False Beech or Fools Beech.

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