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


Melicytus novae-zelandiae (Coastal Mahoe)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Violaceae
Genus: Melicytus
Species: M. novae-zelandiae
Botanical name: Melicytus novae-zelandiae
Synonyms: Scaevola novae-zelandiae, Hymenanthera novae-zelandiae, Hymenanthera latifolia var. tasmanica, Hymenanthera latifolia, Hymenanthera latifolia.
Common name: Coastal Mahoe

A small dioecious shrub growing naturally along New Zealand’s northern coast from the Bay of Plenty northwards. It grows mainly on the coastal offshore islands. It grows up to 1 – 2m tall and is multi-stemmed with an upright growth habit. The olive green leaves tend to be leathery with serrations that are rounded.
During August to September it has small yellowish green bell shaped flowers. The female plants produce numerous ovoid white shaded berries spotted with very dark purple from late August to October.

Melicytus novae-zelandiae is reported as being entomophilous (Webb et al. 1999), but later research show indications of wind pollination as well. It is now thought to have dual (wind- and animal-) pollination. It has substantially higher pollen: ovule ratios than the animal-pollinated plant species.

Photographed at Otari Wilton Bush Reserve