29 New Zealand Plants

After living here for more than six months, I’ve developed a familiarity and—I must say—an affection for a number of plants in the New Zealand bush. Out of the hundreds of exotic plants here, over time I’ve learned the names of some of them and to recognize them on my forays into the bush. They’ve become like familiar friends.

Ti Kouka – the cabbage tree – a common, distinctive tree with grass-like tufts.

Ti kouka - the cabbage tree

Ti kouka – the cabbage tree

Nikau – the native palm tree in New Zealand


Grove of nikau

Patepate – seven finger – hand-shaped with 7-9 limp leaves, fine teeth on leaves

Seven finger

Seven finger

Whauwhaupaku – five finger– leaves are more firm than seven finger, wide spaced teeth on leaves

Five finger

Five finger

Kawakawa – heart-shaped leaves, often leaves full of holes from the ‘kawakawa looper’ caterpillar, Maori used the leaves to alleviate toothache



Pohutukawa – the New Zealand Christmas Tree – grows along the coast, spectacular red blooms around Christmas time



Kohekohe – shiny leaves in 3-4 opposing pairs, common in bush here



Horoeka – lancewood – spear-like leaves in the juvenile plant (a deterrent to the now extinct moa), twisted rope-like trunk



Rewarewa – New Zealand honeysuckle – long, stiff leaves with widely-spaced teeth

Rewarewa - New Zealand honeysuckle

Rewarewa – New Zealand honeysuckle

Mahoe – whiteywood – alternating, toothed leaves, white lichen patches on trunk

Mahoe - whiteywood

Mahoe – whiteywood

Kahikatea – a ‘chiefly’ tree – one of the giants of the New Zealand forest, numbers were decimated years ago to make boxes for the transport of butter



Rimu – another giant tree, fine drooping scale-like leaves almost like pine needles

Rimu leaves

Rimu leaves

Kanuka – beautiful tree, to me it looks like something from a Zen garden

Kanuka trees

Kanuka trees

Manuka – common tree, also famed for manuka honey which bees gather from small white flowers



Flax – sword-shaped leaves in a fan-shape – many uses by the Maori



Rangiora – large leaves with white beneath, sometimes called bushman’s toilet paper,



Hound’s tongue – a low-growing fern, often with sori (spore cases) on the underside of leaves giving it a distinctive appearance

Hound's tongue

Hound’s tongue

Kauri – another chiefly tree, almost completely wiped out in the past for its gum and wood



Tawa – longish, willow-like, thin leaves



Tarata – lemonwood – along streams, the crushed leaves have a citrus scent

Tarata - lemonwood

Tarata – lemonwood

Ponga – silver fern – famed tree fern of New Zealand, white/silver underside of leaves



Mamaku – tree fern with black branches and octagonal marks on trunk



Mapere – cutty grass – a tall tufted grass with razor-like leaf edges


Mapere – cutty grass

Perching tree lily – two species – tufted plant grows perched on the branches of trees

Perching tree lily

Perching tree lily

Miro – tall tree with distinctive small leaves in rows

Miro leaves

Miro leaves

Kareao – supplejack – an incredibly strong vine often growing in thick tangles, wraps around trunks of trees

Dense tangle of kareao - supplejack

Dense tangle of kareao – supplejack

Kiekie – a climbing vine with tufted type leaves



Gorse – not a native – an introduced, invasive species that unfortunately is very common, thorns and yellow blossoms, thrives here similar to the way tamarisk does in Utah



Crown fern – piupiu – characteristic low fern, only grows about 1 meter off ground

Crown fern

Crown fern


Acknowledgment for photos:

Rewarewa: ‪Knightia excelsa tree photos
www.nzplantpics.com800 × 1062Search by image
Knightia excelsa flowers

Hound’s tongue: ‪Ferns | Auckland – West
auckland-west.co.nz720 × 480Search by image

‪Lancewood: ‪Pseudopanax ferox – fierce lancewood photoswww.nzplantpics.com800 × 1062Search by image

Miro: ‪Miro (plant) – Wikipedia
nl.wikipedia.org266 × 200Search by image
Miro IUCN-status: Niet bedreigd [1] (1998)

Mamaku: ‪Te Mära Reo –
www.temarareo.org385 × 257Search by image

Pohutakawa: ‪Pohutukawa.jpg
www.whakaangi.co.nz492 × 242Search by image

Nikau: ‪Nikau – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org1024 × 768Search by image

‪Ponga: ‪3200500617_5df040fa49.jpg
www.flickr.com500 × 375Search by image

Perching tree lily: ‪Perching plants – Conifer–broadleaf forests – Te Ara Encyclopedia …
www.teara.govt.nz335 × 500Search by image

‪Flax: ‪New Zealand flax – Natural environment – Te Ara Encyclopedia of …
www.teara.govt.nz300 × 456Search by image

Gorse: ‪Noxious Weed Control Board (NWCB) | WA State | Weed Detail Page
www.nwcb.wa.gov600 × 460Search by image

Manuka: ‪Manuka Trees
www.virtualoceania.net450 × 296Search by image

Ti kouka: ‪Cordyline australis photography – New Zealand cabbage tree
www.nzplantpics.com377 × 500Search by image
Cordyline australis – southern cabbage tree, ti kouka photography

Crown fern: Blechnum discolor
www.forestferns.co.uk1024 × 768Search by image

Five-finger – Shrubs and small trees of the forest – Te Ara …
www.teara.govt.nz500 × 416Search by image

Kahikatea: ‪Gray’s Bush Scenic Reserve: Gisborne area places to visit
www.doc.govt.nz223 × 334Search by image

Kauri: ‪Square Kauri, Agathis australis, Coromandel, New Zealand | New …

www.newzealandphoto.info800 × 536Search by image
Square Kauri, Agathis australis, Coromandel, New Zealand

Tawa: ‪T.E.R:R.A.I.N – Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis …
www.terrain.net.nz1000 × 750Search by image

‪Mapere: ‪T.E.R:R.A.I.N – Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis …
www.terrain.net.nz1600 × 1201Search by image
Photographed at Otari NativeBotanic Garden and Wilton’s Bush Reserve. Wellington.

Rimu: ‪T.E.R:R.A.I.N – Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis …
www.terrain.net.nz600 × 896Search by image

‪Kareao: ‪Blog Archives – The New Zealand Epiphyte Network
www.nzepiphytenetwork.org1100 × 617Search by image

Tarata: ‪Pittosporum plant image gallery
www.nzplantpics.com600 × 452Search by image

Rangiora: ‪T.E.R:R.A.I.N – Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis …
www.terrain.net.nz1000 × 750Search by image

Crown fern: http://www.fronds.co.nz/Products/Ground-Ferns/Blechnum-discolor—Crown-fern,-piupiu

Kanuka: ‪Manuka/kahikatoa and kanuka: Native plants
www.doc.govt.nz223 × 334Search by image
Large kānuka trees, Little Barrier Island

Mahoe: ‪Melicytus macrophyllus (large-leafed mahoe) | Woodleigh Nursery
woodleigh.co.nz949 × 712Search by image
Melicytus macrophyllus (large-leafed mahoe)

Kawakawa: ‪Kawakawa – Rongoā – medicinal use of plants – Te Ara Encyclopedia …
www.teara.govt.nz420 × 580Search by image

‪Seven finger: T.E.R:R.A.I.N – Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis …
www.terrain.net.nz1200 × 901Search by image


One thought on “29 New Zealand Plants

  1. I like trees…. I espically liked the Mamaku, it seems so unusually geometrical. The all look pretty exotic !!! ….to these old Rocky Mountain forest eyes .

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