Myrsine australis (Red Matipo)
Rare little evergreen tree for the metropolitan horticultural arriviste. i.e. Just the thing if you live in the middle of a big city and want to grow something that no one else has. Read on…Please contact us for stock availability and sizes.
Hardiness level Amber
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.
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