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black matipo

Myrsine

Myrsine is a genus of flowering plants, the nominate genus of the family Myrsinaceae. It is found nearly worldwide, primarily in tropical and subtropical areas. It contains several hundred species including several notable radiations, such as the matipo of New Zealand and the kōlea of Hawaii. In the United States, members of this genus are known as colicwood.

The leathery, evergreen leaves are simple and alternate, with smooth margins and without stipules. The one-seeded, indehiscent fruit is a thin-fleshed globose drupe. The flowers and fruits often do not develop till after leaf fall and thus appear naked on the branches. The fruits often do not mature until the year after flowering. The calyx and style are long persistent.

The New Zealand native plants formerly included in the genera Rapanea and Suttonia have now been included in Myrsine. Note that "Black Matipo" (Pittosporum tenuifolium) is not related to Myrsine.

In addition to the New Zealand Myrsine species, there are dozens of species found in this genus elsewhere in the world. Some species, especially M. africana, are grown as ornamental shrubs.

Selected Species

References

  • Ngā Tipu Aotearoa - Most recent taxonomy (only of NZ species).
  • http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/taxon.aspx?id=_1928e390-214c-434d-b664-847b3227250a Flora of New Zealand].

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