Manual of the New Zealand Flora.
1. Vitex, Linn
1. Vitex, Linn.
Trees or shrubs. Leaves opposite, digitately 3–5-foliolate, very rarely simple. Flowers in axillary or terminal cymes or panicles.page 565
Calyx 5-toothed or -lobed. Corolla-tube short; limb oblique, 2-lipped; lobes 5, the lowest one usually larger than the rest. Stamens 4, didynamous, usually exserted; anther-cells distinct. Ovary 2–4-celled; ovules solitary or 2 in each cell; style filiform, shortly 2-lobed. Drupe globose or obovoid, more or less succulent; endocarp bony, usually 4-celled. Seeds obovate or oblong, albumen wanting.
A large genus of about 70 species, scattered through most tropical and subtropical regions, rare or absent in temperate climates. The New Zealand species is endemic.
|1.||V. lucens, T. Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxix. (1897) 525.—A large handsome tree 40–60 ft. high, with a massive trunk 2–5 ft. diam., and a large crown of spreading branches; branchlets tetra-gonous, glabrous. Leaves on long stout petioles 3–5 in. long; leaflets 3–5, shortly petioled, 2–5 in. long, elliptic-oblong or obovate, abruptly acute or almost acuminate, entire, quite glabrous, dark-green and glossy. Flowers abundantly produced, dull-red, about 1 in. long, arranged in 4–15-flowered dichotomously branched axillary panicles. Calyx short, cup-shaped, truncate or obscurely 5-toothed. Corolla pubescent, 2-lipped; upper lip arched, entire or bifid; lower lip deflexed, 3-lobed. Drupe subglobose, bright-red, ⅔–¾ in. diam.; endocarp bony, 4-celled; seeds seldom more than 1 or 2.—V. littoralis, A. Cunn. Precur. n. 390 (not of Decaisne); Raoul, Choix, 43; Hook. Ic. Plant. t. 419, 420; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 203; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 223; Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 105.
North Island: Abundant from the North Cape to the Waikato and Upper Thames, then sparingly southwards to Mahia Peninsula and Cape Egmont. Sea-level to 2500 ft. Puriri; Kauere. June–October.
A well-known tree, producing the most valuable hardwood in the colony, extensively used for all purposes requiring great strength and durability, as railway-sleepers, the framework of bridges, piles, house-blocks, &c. Also greatly employed for furniture and cabinetwork, and quite equal in figure and general appearance to the best Italian or American walnut.