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Tuatara: Volume 13, Issue 3, November 1965

Pittosporum Cornifolium and Dacrydium Laxifolium

page 185

Pittosporum Cornifolium and Dacrydium Laxifolium

With A Few notable exceptions New Zealand native flowers are not particularly colourful. At the fruiting stage, however, this generalisation does not apply as many of the species have brightly coloured, often highly attractive fruits. Two examples of such colourful fruits are illustrated here. Both are twice natural size.

Pittosporum cornifolium A. Cunn.

Pittosporum is a widespread genus in tropical and subtropical regions and there are 26 species in New Zealand. Most of the latter are ground rooting trees or shrubs, but P. cornifolium is typically an epiphyte perched in the branches of forest trees. The fruit is a capsule which splits open to reveal a red lined interior with black seeds embedded in a sticky yellow fluid.

Dacrydium laxifolium Hook. f. (Pygmy Pine).

This is an unusual prostrate, subalpine species of a conifer genus otherwise notable for several large forest trees. Included among the latter is the New Zealand rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum). In Dacrydium and related genera the seeds are not borne in cones as is usual in conifers, but are exposed at the ends of stalks. Usually only one seed reaches maturity and at this stage the stalk enlarges into a fleshy structure, frequently brightly coloured, which provides a striking contrast with the shiny blackness of the seed.

J. W. Dawson

Photos: M. D. King

page 186