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The Maoris developed an infusion of the leaves to cure many aches, pains and conditions – from toothache to a general tonic. Before the great New Zealand clearances carried out by both Maori and European settlers it was common throughout the country but is now restricted to forest reservations of native species. Its crinkly leaves can confuse it with Pittosporum tenuifolium but the leaves are fleshier and with a distinctive red tinge after midsummer. It’s sometimes used as a hedge in New Zealand but in Britain it’s exceedingly rare and largely untried outside of London where it’s known to grow in the gardens of keen Kiwi horticulturalists who’ve settled in the city.
The pictures illustrate that it can become a shapely little multistemmed tree but as it grows on forest margins, it’s – frankly – hard to photograph in the wild. Fleshy little white flower clusters in June followed by small black fruit.
The ones in Mecklenburgh Square Gardens (south of King’s Cross tube station) London are 20ft tall after 50 years.
Tolerant of a great variety of soils and positions. Considered very hardy throughout its native New Zealand, but little tried in Britain. ‘By seed’.
N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.
As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.
Hardiness level AmberFind out more
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All small orders of tools, selected irrigation and lifestyle accessories are shipped 1st class with Royal Mail straight to your door.
All plants will be delivered by us or our haulier for a set mileage cost. Orders of ladders, pots and selected irrigation will also be dispatched this way if you cannot come and collect from our nursery. Enter your postcode to calculate your delivery charge. To find out more detail click here.
Order any item(s) and collect from our Nursery within 14 days. Place your order and book in a collection slot between 9am to 10am or 3pm to 4pm, Monday to Saturday.
We feel strongly about supporting all customers throughout their online journey, should you feel unsure at any point then opt in for our consultation service at checkout. One of our team to be in contact with you within 48 hours. Your order will be saved however items are not reserved at this point. You can complete or cancel your order at any point. To find out more information please click here.