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The King Country; or, Explorations in New Zealand. A Narrative of 600 Miles of Travel through Maoriland.

The Flora

page 352

The Flora.

Synopsis of the principal flora met with during the journey, arranged alphabetically in accordance with native names.


  • Hinau.—Eloecarpus dentatus. A graceful tree, 20 to 30 feet high; blossoms with a white flower; produces an edible berry ½ inch long, pulp astringent, stone deeply furrowed; bark furnishes a black dye, common throughout the interior of the island; finest specimens met with in the Teranga forest, west of Ruapehu, at an altitude of about 2000 feet.
  • Horoeka.—Aralia Qrassifolia. A small tree with a narrow leaf; frequent in the forests of the Lake Country and other parts of the interior.
  • Kahikatea.—Podocarpus dacrydioides. The white pine, growth 50 to 120 feet; found on the swampy lands and river-banks; berry edible, wood soft; largest trees seen in Valley of Whanganui.
  • Karaka.—Corynocarpus lævigatus. A beautiful tree, 30 to 40 feet high, with glossy ovate leaves and oblong berries, which, when ripe, are of a bright red colour. The natives affirm that this tree was brought by their ancestors from Hawaiki. Seen near Tauranga and in Lake Country.
  • Karamu.—Coprosma lucida. A handsome tree with dark, shining ovate leaves; growth 20 to 30 feet; berries small, bright red, and edible; foliage eaten readily by cattle and horses; widely distributed all over the central portion of North Island, especially in forests of Kamianawa Mountains and Western Taupo; grows up to altitude of 3000 feet.
  • Mahoe.—Melicytus ramiflorus. A bushy tree; growth 15 to 30 feet; frequent in forests of the interior; foliage eaten by cattle.
  • Makomako.—Aristotelia racemosa. A small tree, 10 to 20 feet high; bark black; bears a small berry; bark used by natives to produce a black dye; plentiful in forests of Whanganui.
  • Manoa.—Dacrydium Colensoi. Growth 10 to 50 feet; leaves an inch in length, those of the upper branches overlapping each other; wood very hard, formerly much prized by natives for the manufacture of spears and clubs; frequent in valley of Manganui a-te-Ao.
  • Mataii.—Podocarpus spicata. Growth 80 to 100 feet; berries edible; page 353common in all the forests of the interior; finest trees found in Valley of Whanganui.
  • Miro.—Podocarpus ferruginea. Growth 60 to 120 feet; produces a red berry, the favourite food of the wood-pigeon; frequent throughout the interior; finest specimens met with in forests west of Ruapehu, at altitude of about 2000 feet.
  • Nikau.—Areca Sapida. A beautiful and graceful palm, with ringed trunk, and bright green pinnate leaves 4 to 6 feet long, the sole representative of its genus in New Zealand; the pulp of the top portion of the stem is edible, and when young is a favourite article of food with the natives; very frequent in the forests of the interior, but appeared to attain its greatest growth and development in the damp marly soil of the Valley of the Whanganui.
  • Pohutukawa.—Metrosideros tormentosa. A grand, wide-spreading tree, with gnarled trunk and twisting branches, growth 30 to 50 feet; bears in the month of December a large crimson flower; inner bark used by the natives for diarrhœa; wood hard and red; grows usually near the sea, but also inland at Lake Tarawera at altitude of over 1000 feet.
  • Pukatea.—Atherosperma Novœ Zelandiœ. A straight-growing tree, with a buttressed trunk, growth 50 to 150 feet; grows to a large size in the forests west of Ruapehu, at an altitude of about 2000 feet.
  • Rata.—Metrosideros rohusta. A gigantic tree from 60 to 160 feet in height, base of trunk often exceeds 40 feet in circumference; blooms with a crimson flower: the trunk gives life to innumerable parasitical plants; wood hard, but not durable; inner bark powerful astringent, used by natives for diarrhœa; frequent in all the forests of the interior, the largest trees found being on the eastern side of Mount Perongia and in the dense low-lying forests of the Valley of Whanganui.
  • Rewarewa.—Knightia excelsa. A handsome tree, growth 80 to 100 feet; bears large clusters of red flowers; frequent in the Lake Country.
  • Rimu.—Dacrydium cupressinum, the red pine. A noble tree, growth from 80 to 150 feet; branches pendulous; wood red, heavy, and handsome. This tree attains to its largest size in the Terangakaika Forest, west of Mount Ruapehu, where it flourishes in great abundance at an altitude varying from 2000 to 2500 feet.
  • Tanekaha.—Phyllocladus trichomanoides. A celery-leaved pine, pro-page 354ducing a tough, timber-growth, from 20 to 30 feet; the bark affords a red dye which is fast becoming a valuable article of export for the purpose of colouring kid gloves; frequent in forests of Western Taupo and Te Toto ranges.1
  • Tawa—Nesodaphne Tawa. A fine tree, growth 60 to 80 feet; leaves lance-shaped; produces an edible berry; common throughout the interior.
  • Ti.—Cordyline Australia. Growth 10 to 30 feet; leaves uniform, from 2 to 3 feet long; flowers white and drooping; root edible; frequent throughout the interior, grows at an altitude of 3000 feet; frequent on Rangipo table-land.
  • Towai.—Fagns fusca. One of the most beautiful of New Zealand trees, growth 80 to 140 feet; leaves 1 to 1¼ long, deeply serrate; forms dense forests on the Kaimanawa Mountains and other parts of interior; attains to its greatest growth on the western slopes of Mount Ruapehu, where it grows at an altitude of over 4000 feet.
  • Totara.—Podocarpus totara. A fine forest tree; growth from 60 to 100 feet; met with in all parts of the interior.

Shrubs, Flowers, and Plants.

  • Anata.—A buttercup.
  • Hanea.—A cress.
  • Harakeke.—Phormium tenax. A New Zealand flax; flowers dark red; leaves long, drooping and narrow; the seeds may be used as a substitute for coffee; the root is employed by the natives as a purgative and worm medicine; the gum is applied to wounds and sores; the fibre of the leaf is used for rope-making and the manufacture of paper. Common throughout the interior in swampy places; growth from 4 to 8 feet.
  • Heruna.—Polygonum adpressum.
  • Kaikaiatua.—Rabdothamnus solandri. A plant.
  • Kokota.—Epilobium minuta. A small willow-herb.
  • Korikori.—A species of ranunculus.
  • Koromiko.—Veronica salcifolia. A common shrub, with lilac or white flowers, lanceolate leaves; frequent all over interior; grows luxuriantly around southern and western region of Lake Taupo. page 355A decoction of the leaves is valuable in dysentery. The foliage is eaten readily by cattle.
  • Koropuku.—A plant with a red berry, common in the vicinity of Tongariro.
  • Koru.—A blue and white flower.
  • Kotukutuku.—Fuchsia excorticata. A spreading tree-like shrub, leaves ovate lanceolate; bears a purple berry, yields a dye of the same colour; met with in all parts of interior.
  • Kowhitiwhiti.—Watercress.
  • Kalakuta.—A white flower.
  • Manuka.—Leptospermum ericoides. A tree-like shrub, widely distributed all over interior; finest specimens met with in the Geyser Valley, Wairakei.
  • Mataroa.—A flax-plant.
  • Matuakumara.—A plant.
  • Nahui.—Alternanthera denticulata.
  • Nene.—Dracophyllum latifolium.
  • Outatoranga.—Pimelia arenaria.
  • Panahi.—Convolvulus.
  • Panara.—Taupo primrose.
  • Papataniwhaniwha.—Lagenopliora Forsteri. A plant like a daisy.
  • Pototara.—Cyothodes oxydrus.—A plant with a small white fragrant flower, found growing on Rangipo table-land.

    Piripiri whata.—Carpodetus serratus.

  • Poipapa.—Chenopodium triandrum.
  • Poroporo.—An edible nightshade with a white flower.
  • Puatea.—A yellow daisy.
  • Puwha.—Sonchus oleraceus. Sowthistle, much used by the natives as a vegetable.
  • Rengarenga.—Andhropodium cirrhatum. A lily.
  • Rongotainui.—A flax used fox cordage and fishing-lines.
  • Taihinu.—A white flower found at Taupo.
  • Taretu.—A plant with blue berries.
  • Tataramoa.—Rubus australis. A climbing bramble, armed with prickles, branches pendulous, leaves coriaceous; berry, red or amber-coloured; known to the colonists as the "bush lawyer;" found in all the forests of the interior; most frequent in Valley of Whanganui.
  • Tikupenga.—Cordyline stricta.
  • Titirangi.—Veronica sjpeciosa.
  • Totaratara.—A small shrub with a white flower.page 356
  • Tupapa.—Lagenophora Forsteri. Native daisy.
  • Tutu.—Coriaria ruscifolia. A frequent shrub with glossy leaves and pendulous clusters of purple fruit, the seeds of which are poisonous as well as the foliage; produces a black dye.
  • Waewaekaka.—Gleichenia hecystophylla.
  • Wharangi.—Melicope ternata. A broad-leaved, poisonous shrub, very common in the forests of the Whanganui and Western Taupo.

Creeping, Climbing, and Parasitic Plants.
(Common throughout the interior.)

  • Aka.—Metrosideros buxifolia.
  • Kareao.—Rhipogonum scandens. A climbing wiry vine, the "supple Jack" of the colonists; leaves three to five inches long, linear, ovate; often grows in entangled masses, abundant in all the forests; largest specimens found in the swampy forests of the Whanganui. A decoction of the root forms a good substitute for sarsaparilla.
  • Kiekie.—Freycientia Banksii. A plant producing an edible flower and fruit.
  • Kohia.—Parsiflora tetrandra. A climbing plant.
  • Kowharawhara.—Astelia Banksii. A parasitical broad-leaved grass, growing in tufts on trees, bearing an edible berry.
  • Kowhaia.—Edwardsia microphilla. A passion-flower; colour, green and orange, with fragrant fruit.
  • Mawhai.—Sicyos Australis. A creeping plant.
  • Patangatanga.—Freycientia Banksii.
  • Pikiarero.—Clematis, bearing a beautiful white flower.
  • Puawananga.—Clematis indivisa, bearing a white flower.


  • Hiaue.—Creepinglycopodium.
  • Huruhuruwhenua.—Asplenium lucidum.
  • Kiokio.—Polypodium.
  • Kopakopa.—Trichomanes. A round-leaved fern.
  • Korokio.—The smallest tree-fern.
  • Kotote.—A small-leaved fern.
  • Kurakura.—A small kind of lycopodium.
  • Maerere.—A small-leaved fern.page 357
  • Makaka.—Adianthum.
  • Mangapowhatu.—Polytrichum cyphoma.
  • Mangemange.—Lycopodium articulatum. A creeping fern.
  • Mokimoki.—Long-leaved, fern.
  • Mouku.—An edible fern.
  • Ngutu-Karkariki.—Parrot's bill fern, so called from the form of its foot-stalk; the fronds are plume-shaped.
  • Panaka.—Asplenium. A very graceful fern.
  • Para Marattia.—Salicina. A large fern.
  • Paretau.—Asplenium obliquum. A large-leaved fern.
  • Puaka rimu.—The tree lycopodium.
  • Raorao.—Pteris esculenta. A common edible fern, the root of which formed at one time the principal food of the Maori.
  • Raumanga.—Polypodium. A broad-leaved fern.
  • Tapui kotuku.—Creeping lycopodium.
  • Tarakupenga.—Creeping lycopodium.
  • Waewaekoukou.—Lycopodium volubile. A running fern.
  • Ti Taranaki—A fern growing on the plains, having its fructification on a separate stalk.

1 Mr. G. W. Griffin, United States' Consul at Auckland, whose valuable reports upon the various commercial products of New Zealand have been recently printed by authority of the New Zealand Government, is the author of a very interesting paper upon the economic uses of this tree.