Title: Early New Zealand Botanical Art

Author: F. Bruce Sampson

Publication details: Reed Methuen, 1985, Auckland

Digital publication kindly authorised by: F. Bruce Sampson

Part of: New Zealand Texts Collection

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Early New Zealand Botanical Art


page 89

Plate 29 Pratia physaloides (Colensoa physaloides) (koru)

The koru is considerably larger than the other four native species of Pratia. A sprawling herb up to one metre high, it grows north of Whangarei and on the Three Kings and Poor Knights Islands. Koru is a member of the lobelia family (Lobeliaceae). The violet to dark-blue flowers are up to five centimetres long, and the blue-to-whitish berries reach one and a half centimetres in diameter. This Plate is also one of the unpublished watercolours.

Courtesy of the Director, National Museum, Wellington

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Plate 29 Pratia physaloides (A. Cunn.) Hemsl. (koru) Sarah Featon

Plate 29 Pratia physaloides (A. Cunn.) Hemsl. (koru) Sarah Featon

Plate 30 Dysoxylum spectabile (kohekohe)

Kohekohe is shown as it appears in Plate 18 of the Art Album. The colours in this chromolithograph are very similar to those of the original watercolour. One of our most attractive trees, kohekohe is the only New Zealand member of the mahogany family (Meliaceae). It is abundant in coastal and lowland forest throughout the North Island, but is confined to the northeast part of the South Island in the Nelson-Marlborough Sounds region. A single leaf is illustrated, consisting of three to six pairs of oppositely arranged leaflets and a terminal one. Kohekohe is unusual in that flowering occurs in winter, between April and August. Another unusual feature is that the flower clusters arise from the trunk or from bare parts of branches below the leaves. This type of flowering is known as cauliflory and is particularly common in tropical plants. Most of the approximately 150 species of Dysoxylum grow in tropical or subtropical forests. Hundreds of flowers are formed on each tree, and if winds are strong the forest becomes carpeted with fallen kohekohe flowers. Fruits have thin, papery skins and split into several segments to expose up to eight seeds, which have a bright red-orange covering known as an aril. They are eaten by the native pigeon.

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Plate 30 Dysoxylum spectabile (Forst. f.) Hook. f. (kohekohe) Sarah Featon

Plate 30 Dysoxylum spectabile (Forst. f.) Hook. f. (kohekohe) Sarah Featon