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


Pseudopanax lessonii (Houpapa)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Pseudopanax
Species: P. lessonii
Binomial name: Pseudopanax lessonii
Synonyms: Panax lessonii, Panax lessonii var. lessonii, Hedera lessonii, Cussonia lessonii.
Common names: NZ Houpara, Houpapa, Puahou, Houmāpara; Houparapara, Kokotai, Oho; Parapara, Whauwhau.

Pseudopanax lessonii is a New Zealand native coastal five finger with leathery foliage. It is a shrub or tree up to 6 m tall, with stout branches. The fleshy hand-shaped leaves are alternate and are crowded towards the tips of branchlets, and are 3- to 5- foliolate. Juvenile plants have larger leaves than adults. The petioles are 5-15 cm long.
It is endemic to New Zealand and its natural range is coastal forest and scrub on the Three Kings Islands and the North Island as far south as Poverty Bay (38°4′S) and northern Taranaki. Houpara is popular in New Zealand gardens and it has become naturalised and is becoming a weed in some areas.
Green flowers develop Dec.–Feb. 
A number of cultivars have been developed including “Gold Splash” which has a green leaf with splashes of yellow

For more detailed information visit: http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.asp?ID=1198  

Photographed January at the Awanui Cemetery, New Plymouth. Thanks to Alan Jellyman for identification.
  







Leaves of seedlings
 

The underside of a seedlings keaf.