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Tree Botanics

Kohuhu Previous


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Other Names: (Pittosporun tenuifolium ssp. tenuifolium)

Kohuhu is one of the most common trees seen throughout New Zealand, populating almost all areas of both islands in coastal and lowland forests except in Westland. Member of the Pittosporacea family, this slender trunked tree can attain heights of up to 10m with a 40cm diameter. It comprises 2 subspecies; tenuifolium (the typical form, and subspecies colensoi. The former is found throughout the North Island and East of the Main Divide, the latter occurs in the North island from Kawhia and the Bay of Plenty southwards and in the South Island west of the Main Divide. They are fairly similar to one another in physical appearance, colensoi being a slightly larger tree with larger leaves that do not have the distinctive undulating margin as in tenuifolium. When crushed the branchlets have a distinctive pungent smell. The bark is dark grey to almost kohuhu-flower-arbortechnix-tree-speciesblack and smooth with a roughened surface. The leaves appear light green and shiny, 3cm - 7cm in length, alternate with a wavy strongly undulating edge; kohuhu-seed-arbortechnix-tree-species(colensoi; 5cm - 10cm in length dark green and shining with the margins flat to slightly wavy/undulating). The sweet scented flowers appear from October - November, a dark reddish purple colouration to almost black and are especially pungent in the evenings. Fruits appear as a 3-valved capsule which splits when ripe around March to expose black seeds in a sticky secretion. Kohuhu is also known incorrectly as matipo.