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Tree Botanics

Toru Previous

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Other Names: (Persoonia toru) = Toru/Toro

This member of the Proteaceae family (Protea) is a compact, closely branched tree when growing in open areas, but in the forest has few branches.  Easily recognised by its long & narrow, thick & leathery leaves the Toru occurs from sea level to 850m in lowland to montane (subalpine) scrublands of the North Island, from Mangonui to Rotorua and the East Cape district and early in the development of new forest to just south of latitude 38 degrees S.  It reaches heights of up to 10m, and on old, more mature trees the trunks may reach diameters of up to 20cm or more. The bark is red to nearly black in colour. Leaves are dark green & shiny, short-stemmed & leathery, 10 - 20cm in length, smooth, long and narrow (8 - 16mm).  Often a few bright red leaves appear among the dark green foliage, a useful identification aid in the wild. Flowers are carried on erect 6 - 16 flowered racemes (flower bearing stalk), yellowish-yellowish/brown appearing from brown buds in September - February, though usually produced predominantly in October/November. The fruit is a drupe (a fleshy fruit, such as a peach, plum, or cherry, usually having a single hard stone that encloses a seed. Also called stone fruit.) about 12 - 18cm long and becomes reddish when it ripens.  They are typically oblong, 1 - 2 celled & take approximately 1 year to ripen. The wood grain is well-figured and dark red in hue.  Toru has been used for inlaying & cabinet work.