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


Myrsine australis (Red matipo)

Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Asterids
Order:Ericales
Family:Myrsinaceae
Genus:Myrsine L.
Species: M. australis
Scientific name: Myrsine australis
Common name: Red Matipo or Mapou

Myrsine australis is a species of shrub within the family Myrsinaceae. It is endemic to New Zealand and found throughout the country and offshore islands.  It has crinkly-edged leaves which make it easily mistaken for a pittosporum and reddish bark and stems. Growing to around 6 metres in height, it inhabits bush margins. The bark on a mature trunk is grey.  Mapou produce very small black fruit in summer (popular with birds) these grow directly on the stem of the plant, not at the end of branches and twigs.

Maori boiled mapou leaves to make an infusion (tea) for toothache. They also used the leaves as relief for arthritic problems, as a remedy for skin disease, intestinal worms and as a general tonic. The branch wood was used for digging sticks and adze handle sockets.

Photographed at Percy Gardens Wellington


A young shrub.

  

Flowers (January)










Older leaves can have scattered dark blotches.on their surface.
 

The underside of leaf. . Notice the the top leaf has the distinctive knotch tip that some Myrsine australis leaves have.


Trunk of a mature tree.