Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Geniostoma ligustrifolium var. ligustrifolium,  Hangehange, Māori privet

A common shrub up to 3m high, it is commonly found at the edge of bush and along the tracks. Leaves are oppositely positioned along the slender, brittle stems. The oval, elongated and soft, shiny lettuce-green leaves have ‘drip tips’ at the end. Source of names: Genus: genio = hairy and stoma = mouth. TheContinue reading “Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Geniostoma ligustrifolium var. ligustrifolium,  Hangehange, Māori privet”

Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Melicytus ramiflorus, māhoe, whitey wood

This is one of the most common sub-canopy trees in the Tawa native bush reserves. Source of names: Genus Melicytus. From Greek ‘meli’ = honey and ‘kytos’ = hollow container. It refers to the staminal nectaries of the flowers. (‘honey cave’). Species = ramiflorus meaning flowers are borne from branches. Māhoe. ‘Ma’ = shame, ‘hoe’Continue reading “Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Melicytus ramiflorus, māhoe, whitey wood”

Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – tree fuchsia, kōtukutuku

Reputed to be the largest fuchsia in the world it grows up to 15m. The Genus name Fuchsia is from the German botanist Leonhart Fuchs, (1501- 1566). The species name excorticata means ‘loose barked’ while tukutuku means ‘letting go’, so both names refer to the peeling bark. It is an ‘oddball’ NZ native tree becauseContinue reading “Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – tree fuchsia, kōtukutuku”

Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Thread fern – pānako

Blechnum filiforme or Icarus filiformis or pānako or thread fern is the most common, but unusual ground fern in the Tawa reserves. Its unusual features are that it is the only climbing species of Blechnum in New Zealand and it has three different types of fronds – juvenile, adult sterile and adult fertile. Blechnum speciesContinue reading “Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Thread fern – pānako”

Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Tawa

The tree after which our suburb is named. Beilschmiedia tawa or tawa is a dominant canopy tree in the Tawa native bush reserves. The Genus name Beilschmieda is after Carl T Beilschmied (1793 – 1848), a Polish botanist. The species name tawa is a Māori word meaning ‘to be purple’, relating to the colour ofContinue reading “Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Tawa”

Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Kawakawa

Piper excelsum (Kawakawa) Piper = pepper and excelsum = tall. Kawa = bitter. A few metres high in lowland bush, kawakawa is endemic to NZ. Recognition features of kawakawa: heart-shaped leaves with a palmate vein pattern leaf petiole is flattened at the base leaves often have holes, caused by a nocturnal looper caterpillar male andContinue reading “Know the native trees in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Kawakawa”

Know the native tree species in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Kohekohe trees in winter

This is sometimes called ‘the funkiest tree’ in our native bush, with its white flowers in winter that grow directly from the trunk. The flowers provide a nectar source for tūī and korimako (bellbirds) at a time when other food is not as abundant. In some years, a strong sweet aroma is evident in theContinue reading “Know the native tree species in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Kohekohe trees in winter”

Know the native tree species in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Mamaku or Ponga?

Two of our most common NZ tree ferns, are both prevalent in the Tawa native bush reserves. Mamaku Our tallest tree fern, reaching up to 20m, mamaku (black tree fern/Cyathea medullaris) has distinctively black, scale covered koru as the fronds unfurl.The fronds extend up to 5m and can be as thick as a human armContinue reading “Know the native tree species in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Mamaku or Ponga?”

Know the native tree species in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Kanono

Kanono or Coprosma autumnalis –—- previously named C. grandifolia –—- Kanono is a common shrub, up to 6m found in shady, damp and sheltered parts of all the native bush reserves in Tawa. Recognition features of kanono: plants are dioecious (have separate male and female plants). Male flowers have dangling stamens that produce pollen while female flowersContinue reading “Know the native tree species in Tawa reserves with Gil Roper – Kanono”

Tawa trees – a vintage year for the fruit

Tawa trees dominate our native bush reserves and in late 2020 and early 2021, the fruit production has been prolific – far more than in recent years. The oval purple/black fruit are obvious on the ground. Tawa seed are difficult to germinate and especially progress further to seedlings and then young trees. They are veryContinue reading “Tawa trees – a vintage year for the fruit”