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

Melicytus orarius

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Violaceae
Genus: Melicytus
Species: M. orarius
Scientific name: Melicytus orarius
Synonyms: Melicytus obovatus ssp “Coast”, Hymenanthera obovata

Melicytus orarius is a shrub in the Melicytus obovatus complex from central New Zealand. It is a native coastal shrub that is confined to coastal habitats in Cook Strait, and in the North Island is restricted to the Wellington region where it occurs from Kapiti Island in the west to the Wairarapa coast in the east, and in the South Island, it occurs throughout the Marlborough Sounds. It attains a height of 1.5m with a 2m spread. It is a hermaphrodite shrub with bright green, obovate, broadly obovate or narrowly obovate leaves that have a distinctly retuse apex and the petals have a prominent purple margin. It is a relative of the common forest tree Melicytus ramiflorus (Mahoe).

Below is part of a report on Condition and Types of Vegetation at Titahi Bay Beach 2007 -2009 by Robin Smith for the Porirua City Council. 
“The coastal edge area although denuded previously of its coastal forest is now dominated by mostly local coastal native species. The lower part of the cliff is home to one plant of the Cook Strait endemic plant Melicytus obovatus ssp “Coast” (regionally rare) and is the only example of this species at the south end of Titahi Bay. It is to be noted the Melicytus has been recorded over a hundred years ago and is quite likely to be the same plant. There are around 20 plants at the northern end of Titahi Bay.”

Photos below are of Melicytus orarius with its bright green leaves some with one indent in the margins of the leaf edge and rounded tip and others with no indent. Photographed at Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton's Bush Reserve. Wellington.

Green berries turning a dark purple late March



Flowers of Melicytus obovatus.  Photographed September at Te Kainga Marire Garden, New Plymouth


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