Introduction

Find out when to collect seeds and how to propagate native trees and shrubs.

In this section

This seed collection and propagation guide is a short version of Ecosourcing News, a newsletter produced by Ecosourced Waikato to alert native plant growers to seed availability.

Pohutakawa.
Pohutukawa

Although originally developed for the Waikato region, it has wider application as many of the native trees and shrubs are found throughout New Zealand. The information should be read in conjunction with the calendar for seed collecting.

For help with plant identification see:

Note: This is not a complete list of trees and shrubs indigenous to New Zealand. Other species may be added from time to time. Species such as akeake, broadleaf, kohuhu, karo and tarata are not included in this list because finding naturally growing sources of these plants is now difficult as a result of widespread amenity planting and hybridisation.

Agathus australis/kauri

Kauri is a tree of northern zones, naturally growing as far south as Kawhia and Katikati. The immense stature of some specimens makes it an attractive tree to grow. Kauri are most commonly found on ridges but historically were also found on lowland river terraces. Even a well established kauri is particularly vulnerable to drought. Trees are either male or female.

Propagation: The mature cones can be found in the autumn. Collect whole cones before they disintegrate and store until they open and reveal the winged seed. Sow seeds by pressing into a firm bed of seed raising mix and lightly cover with mix. Fresh seeds usually germinate within a month.

Alectryon excelsus/titoki

Titoki is a tree of lowland forest particularly river terraces. It flowers in the spring and fruit is ready a year later. The glossy black seed is enclosed within a bright red fleshy coat inside a woody capsule. In collecting seed off the ground look for all three forms – capsule, black seed and fleshy coat. The bright red fleshy coat is an indication that the seed is mature.

Propagation:  Soak the capsule in water to soften so it can be broken open to reveal the seed. Sow the black seed as soon as it is collected and cover with about 5 mm of seed raising mix. The seedlings germinate quickly and are frost tender when young.

Aristotelia serrata/wineberry/makamako

Wineberry is a common early coloniser preferring well drained (but damp) sheltered areas. Male and female flowers are found on separate plants (dioecious). The dark red/black berries are usually ripe in February or March.

Propagation: Soften the fruit, mash and wash and decant off the pulp. Sow seeds immediately on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly. Seedlings could be up in two months otherwise in the spring.

Beilschmiedia taraire/taraire

Taraire is a canopy tree sometimes forming almost pure stands, but commonly associated with titoki, puriri, karaka totara and kahikatea. Like its close relative, tawa, taraire is shy to fruit but generally produces its large, purple, plum like drupes in autumn.

Propagation: Press the whole fruit into a flat bed of seed raising mix. Do not cover the fruit with mix, but place a glass or plastic sheet over the tray and place in a warm shady site for the winter. Seedlings usually appear in early spring.

Beilschmiedia tawa/tawa

Tawa trees grow in a wide range of forest types and are predominantly found in mature forests, coping well under shade. They are slow to establish and produce only small amounts of fruit in the form of a large purple drupe. Collect the fruit off the ground or lower branches.

Propagation: The seeds have only a very light seed coat and don't store well. Press well into a bed of seed raising mix but do not cover. Shoots will appear in a month or two depending on the temperature.

Brachyglottis repanda/rangiora

Rangiora is a shrub that prefers well drained hillsides, growing around forest margins and within the shade of forests. The flowers appear in the spring and the seeds with tiny wings to aid dispersal appear soon after. Collect the seed heads as the wings begin to dry.

Propagation: Sow onto a firm, level bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly. Place tray in shade to discourage weed growth – but move to the light once germination occurs. The seed can take 9 – 12 months to germinate and often has a low germination rate.

Carpodetus serratus/putaputaweta

Putaputaweta is a small tree found in damp boggy places and stream banks but does not cope well with branches under water for prolonged periods. Flowers appear in spring and the dark red/black berries are ripe about 18 months later – which means there is an overlap between fruit of different seasons. Take care to pick only ripe fruit.

Propagation: Soften the seed, wash and decant off the flesh. Sow seed on a firm bed of seed raising mix. Seedlings will appear in the spring.

Coprosma arborea/mamangi

Mamangi is a small tree to about 12 metres in height growing on well drained hillslopes, usually on forest margins. It is the tallest coprosma species and produces abundant fruit for birds over a prolonged autumn season. Collect the white fruit from lower branches.

Propagation: Sow directly or wash first to remove the fleshy pulp. Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix and/or fine pumice. Seedlings should appear in about three months.

Coprosma areolata

This coprosma grows on moist sites, both on hillsides or flat ground and being shade tolerant, is happy in the understory. All coposmas are dioecious and require male and female individuals to set seed. Fruit ripens in the autumn with two seeds in the middle of each tiny dark blue coloured fruit.

Propagation: Sow directly or wash first to remove the fleshy pulp. Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix and/or fine pumice. Seedlings should appear in about three months.

Coprosma grandifolia/kanono

Kanono prefers a damp sheltered site and grows well in the shade of other trees and shrubs. It has the largest leaf of all the mainland coprosmas and like other coprosmas, is dioecious with separate male and female trees. The delicate wind pollinated flowers appear around April and the bright red fruits follow the next February through to May.

Propagation: Sow directly or wash first to remove the fleshy pulp. Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover with about 4mm of mix. Seedlings may take three to four months to germinate.

Coprosma lucida/shining karamu

Shining karamu is found in damp forest and along forest margins, particularly in coastal areas. It is a close relative of karamu (Coprosma robusta) with large leaves and fruit in clusters but is taller growing than karamu. The fruit swells, turns read and ripens in late summer and autumn.

Propagation:

Allow the fruit to soften so the flesh can be washed off leaving the denser seeds behind. Sow on a firm level bed of seed raising mix and cover with a few millimetres of mix. Water well and place in a warm shady place until seedlings start to germinate – usually in the spring. Bring into the light once the seedlings appear.

Coprosma propinqua/mingimingi

Mingimingi is a common shrub of damp infertile soils, often found in boggy areas or stream margins prone to flooding. It is intolerant of shade. The best fruiting specimens are older shrubs receiving good sunlight – but be aware that plants tend to fruit in alternate years. Fruit appears in autumn and is coloured variously white through to blue and almost black.

Propagation: Sow directly or wash first to remove the fleshy pulp. Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix and/or fine pumice. Seedlings should appear in about two to three months.

Coprosma rhamnoides

This small-leaved coprosma grows on well drained sloping ground in both exposed sites and shady forest. Its divaricate nature results in a tight tangle of twiggy growth particularly in sunny exposed sites, making it tricky to collect the seed. The tiny ruby coloured fruit ripens in autumn with two seeds found in each.

Propagation: Sow directly or wash first to remove the fleshy pulp. Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix and/or fine pumice. Seedlings should appear in about two to three months.

Coprosma rigida

This coprosma is a shrub or small tree growing at the foot of slopes and along river flats where the soil is moist and there is a chance of flooding. It will tolerate both sun and shade and is useful in filling gaps in the forest canopy that may otherwise be occupied by weeds. Fruit generally ripens from March through to May with tiny yellow fruits distributed singly along the branches.

Propagation: Sow directly or wash first to remove the fleshy pulp. Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix and/or fine pumice. Put in a warm shady place until seed leaves appear in about two to four months. Move to a sunny spot and prick out seedlings as soon as seed leaves are big enough to handle.

Coprosma robusta/karamu

Karamu is a common early colonising species, growing very quickly in good sunlight. It will tolerate wet conditions as well as quite dry infertile places. The orange/red fruit is a valuable food source for birds, ripening between February and August the year after a spring flowering.

Propagation: Sow directly or allow the fruit to go soft then wash away the pulp, leaving two seeds for each fruit. Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix. Seedlings appear in one to two months.

Coprosma rotundifolia

This coprosma grows into a shrub or small tree and is found on alluvial river flats and low lying ground. It is tolerant of shady conditions and is a good plant to establish in the right soil conditions along with larger trees and quick growing shrubs like its relative karamu. The best fruiting specimens are those older trees receiving good sunlight. Fruit is ripe in the summer.

Propagation: Sow directly or wash to remove the red fleshy pulp. Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix. Seedlings appear in about two to three months depending on the temperature.

Coprosma spathulata

This coprosma grows on well drained sloping ground, tolerating both dry soil and heavy shade but not full sun. It is a definite understory plant and should never be planted without a protective canopy of vegetation. Fruit ripens February through May with two seeds in the middle of each red/orange/black coloured fruit.

Propagation: Sow directly or wash to remove the fleshy pulp. Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix. Seedlings begin to appear in about three months.

Coprosma tenuicaulis/swamp coprosma

As the name suggests, this shrub is very much at home in wetlands where it will grow in water up to 300 mm deep. It will also do well on dry soil but will not be as dense or tall enough to out-compete weeds. During April and May, the branches of the female plants are encrusted with black fruits, each containing two seeds. Strip off the ripe fruit and leave in a warm moist environment to soften.

Propagation: Wash first to remove the fleshy pulp or sow directly on a firm bed of seed raising mix, press into the bed with a flat board and cover very lightly with mix. Place in a warm shady place until the seed leaves appear in about two to four months depending on the temperature. Move to a sunny spot and prick out seedlings as soon as seed leaves are big enough to handle.

Cordyline australis/ti kouka or cabbage tree

Cabbage trees are quick growing and tolerate very wet soil. They are frequently found in wetlands but are also widespread in other habitats. Because they produce masses of seed, they are an ideal species to colonise disturbed areas or re-vegetate riverbanks but fail to thrive once other trees shade them out. White flowers appear en masse in the spring and are followed by white berries in the autumn containing several black seeds.

Propagation: Sow thinly on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix. Seedlings begin to appear two to four months depending on temperature. The seedlings can be vulnerable to botrytis (grey mould) if sown too thickly.

Cordyline banksii/ti ngahere or bush cabbage tree

Unlike ti kouka, this cabbage tree requires a well drained site and is most commonly found on steep banks or the crest of ridges. It will tolerate some shade. The white or faintly blue fruit are found in similar large clusters to ti kouka in the autumn.

Propagation: Sow thinly on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix. Seedlings begin to appear two to four months depending on temperature. The seedlings can be vulnerable to botrytis (grey mould) if sown too thickly.

Dacrycarpus dacrydioides/kahikatea

Kahikatea is New Zealand's tallest forest tree and is found throughout low altitude forest all over the country but is most predominant in damp lowland forest and swamp forest. Kahikatea seedlings require high levels of sunlight to grow so do well on disturbed sites or in light wells in the forest. Kahikatea have separate male and female trees. The fleshy cones generally have one seed and turn orange when they ripen in autumn. Collect seed from the ground (you can lay a large sheet under the tree) or pick from lower branches.

Propagation: Sow directly on a firm bed of seed raising mix, lightly cover and thoroughly moisten. Seedlings appear in two to four months depending on temperature.

Dacrydium cupressinum/rimu

Rimu is a major constituent of lowland forests, often towering well above the canopy of broadleaved trees. In some parts of the country the bright red fleshy cones and seed form a major part of the diet of birds and introduced mammals. Seed production varies considerably from year to year and is often interrupted before the seed is ripe.

Propagation: The seed germinates readily with no special treatment. Sow directly on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix. It will take several months before seedlings appear.

Dysoxylum spectabile/kohekohe

Kohekohe is a tree of coastal and northern parts of the country, requiring a sheltered site as it tends to be frost tender. The large leaves are attractive to possums as is the fruit - which also provide food for birds. White flowers appear in May and June and the fruit is ripe a year or so later.  The green capsule opens to reveal orange fruit.

Propagation: Seeds are quick to germinate but very vulnerable to fungal attack. Prepare a firm, flat bed of seed raising mix and press the seeds into the bed with a board. Embryo roots appear within a few days and turn down into the soil.

Elaeocarpus dentatus/hinau

Hinau is a tree of sloping ground and along with pokaka (Elaeocarpus hookerianus) is a relative of the olive and has similar, though slightly smaller fruit which matures in May and June. C0llect seed from the ground or pick from lower branches.

Propagation: Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix, press well in and cover with mix to a depth of about 5mm, water well and leave to drain. Seed germinates in about six months but can be variable.

Elaeocarpus hookerianus/pokaka

Pokaka is one of the trees found in association with kahikatea in damp lowland forest and usually grows on river terraces and lowland plains. Pick the purple/brown drupe from lower branches or collect either the drupe or black stone off the ground.

Propagation: Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix, press well in and cover with mix to a depth of about 5mm, water well and leave to drain. Seed can take a year or two to germinate so place the seed tray in deep shade to discourage weed growth. New seedlings look nothing like their parents, taking several years to develop adult foliage.

Fuchsia excorticata/kotukutuku

Kotukutuku is a quick growing small tree found in a range of damp forest and scrub habitats throughout the county. It is tolerant of shade, will grow in full sun if it has sufficient shelter and water but does not cope well with flooding. Kotukutuku tolerates heavy frost with fresh growth appearing in the spring along with purple flowers, closely followed by red/purple berries (konini) which are filled with masses of tiny seeds. Collect the fruit as soon as it begins to ripen (early summer).

Propagation: Leave fruit in a warm moist environment to soften. Mash the pulp, mix with water and decant of the flesh. Pour of excess water and because the seeds are so tiny, it is advisable to mix them with a little sifted seed raising mix or sand before sprinkling over a firm bed of seed raising mix. Water well and place in the shade until the seedlings appear in about eight weeks then bring them into the light.

Geniostpma ligustrifolium/hangehange

Hangehange is a characteristic shrub of lowland forests and is often found on forest margins and along tracks but will also grow deeper in the forest, soaking up the light that filters through the canopy. The seeds are borne in capsules, which dry out and split open in the autumn. Collect the capsules just as they begin to dry.

Propagation: Dry the capsules and break up the seed clusters as best you can. Sow the seeds sparingly on a firm bed of seed raising mix and lightly cover. Seedlings take about two months to germinate. The tiny seedlings are vulnerable to root disturbance so handle carefully and place in shade for the first week after pricking out.

Hebe stricta/koromiko

Koromiko is a specialist coloniser of newly disturbed sites, thriving in an open sunny location and generally intolerant of shade. Flowers are in inflorescences with each inflorescence producing scores of capsules and seeds which are carried on the wind to new sites. Small plants grow quickly and may start producing flowers themselves within a year of germinating. Collect the capsules before they open and turn brown.

Propagation: Store capsules in a paper bag in a warm dry place to open and release the seeds. Sift the seeds onto a firm flat bed of seed raising mix, water well and place in the shade until the tiny seedlings begin to appear. Don't allow them to dry out and watch carefully for fungal infections.

Hedecarya arborea/pigeonwood or porokaiwhiri

Pigeonwood grows in a wide range of habitats from low damp ground to dry ridges and from full sunlight to under the shade of a forest canopy. The glossy leaves, clear white flowers and bright orange berries make it an attractive tree, growing to about 8 metres. The orange drupes ripen in spring, however many trees fruit on alternate years and as there are male and female trees, not every tree will be productive. The seed is most easily collected from the ground and can look similar to plum stones once the orange flesh has gone.

Propagation: Sow directly on a firm bed of seed raising mix, press well in and cover with mix. Seedlings will come up in the autumn.

Hoheria sexstylosa/lacebark or hohere

Lacebark is a small tree found on forest margins, particularly along stream and river banks where it regularly experiences seasonal flooding. H.sextylosa is common in the southern and central North Island with other Hoheria species in other parts of the country. Flowers appear in late summer/autumn and produce a dry wind dispersed seed. Collect in May/June.

Propagation: Sow directly on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly. Seed should germinate in a few weeks depending on temperature.

Knightia excelsa/rewarewa

Because of its quick growth and tolerance of exposure, rewarewa is commonly found in re-growth forest along forest tracks and on banks. Its distinctive red flowers appear around Labour weekend and provide a source of nectar for tui, bellbird and silvereye. The seed capsules mature in early winter, splitting open to release winged seeds to be blown in the wind.

Propagation: Store capsules in a container in a warm dry place to open and expose the seed. Sow the seed on a firm flat bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix.

Kunzea species/kanuka

Kanuka is an important early coloniser, producing copious quantities of minute seeds which are dispersed by wind. Quickly growing to the size of a modest tree at about 10 metres, it provides important shelter for other more vulnerable species to establish under. Kanuka is covered in a profusion of white flowers at Christmas and the seed is ready for collection around March. There is only a small 'window of opportunity' to collect the dry capsules as seed is quickly dispersed. Kanuka should always be ecosourced carefully because it is so variable across the country.

Propagation: Store the capsules in a paper bag in a warm dry place until the minute seed is released (may only take a day or two). Sow the seed onto a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix and /or fine pumice. Water well and keep in the shade until seedlings start to germinate in about three months.

Laurelia novae-zelandiae/pukatea

Pukatea is one of our most common native trees, being well adapted for survival in damp waterlogged soils, with wide buttressed trunks and breathing roots (pneumatophores). It will also thrive on hillsides if there is enough moisture in the soil. Seedlings cope well with the shade created by their parents and will come to dominate areas of forest where the seedlings of other trees are shaded out. Seeds are borne in pear-shaped green capsules which split open when dry to expose 'thistle-like' seeds which float in the wind.

Propagation: Collect the capsules off the ground and store in a paper bag in a warm dry place until the seed is released. It is not necessary to remove the fluff from the seed, just press the seeds into a firm bed of seed raising mix, cover lightly with mix and water well. Seed can take several months to germinate over the winter and the success rate can be variable.

Leptospermum scoparium/manuka

Manuka is a specialist coloniser of low fertility soils with different forms adapted to clay hillsides and others to wetlands. The flowers appear in early spring and the mature seed capsules can stay unopened on the branches for a long time so there is generally seed available for collection at any time of year. Manuka should always be ecosourced carefully because it is so variable across the country.

Propagation: Place the capsules in paper bag in a warm dry place until the fine red seed is released. Sift out the seed and lightly sprinkle over a firm smooth bed of seed raising mix. Do not cover but water well. The seedlings will come up in one to four weeks depending on the temperature.

Leucopogon fasciculatus/mingimingi

Mingimingi is a small tree or shrub growing to five to six metres that thrives on infertile soils. It is thus an important coloniser of clay banks or peatland.  Flowers appear in the spring followed by tiny crimson or occasionally white fruit containing one seed early in the new year.

Propagation: Allow the fruit to soften then wash and sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix, cover with mix and water thoroughly. Cover with glass or plastic and place in a warm shady place until germination occurs in about nine months.

Litsea calicaris/ mangeao

Mangeao is a mid succession tree of low rolling hills, preferring well drained soils. It will grow in both open sites and under the forest canopy. The large plum-like drupes in autumn provide food for kereru. Collect off the ground or from lower branches.

Propagation: Press the seed in to a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix. Avoid over watering. Seedlings are vulnerable to root disturbance so prick out into PB 2 sized pots ready for planting in the ground later.

Melicope simplex/poataniwha

Poataniwha is one of the small leaved shrubs characteristic of lowland kahikatea forest. It has tiny white flowers in the spring followed by dry capsules each with one large seed in late summer.

Propagation: Collect seed as soon as it is ready and sow immediately to encourage early germination. Poataniwha can take many months to germinate and success can be variable.

Melicytus ramiflorus/mahoe

Mahoe is one of the most common small trees, tolerant of both sun and shade, wet and dry, and an important component of any restoration programme. However, it is vulnerable to root damage when transplanting, slug browsing and can also be knocked by frost. For this reason, new plants should have established some woody stems before planting out. Flowers appear in the spring and fruit from Christmas onwards – although often fruit is more abundant in autumn if there has been a second flowering. Fruit varies in colour between white and deep purple.

Propagation: Sow the washed seeds or whole fruit sparingly on a firm bed of seed raising mix and lightly cover. Seeds usually take about two months to germinate depending on the temperature.

Metrosideros excelsa/pohutukawa

Pohutukawa is mostly a coastal species, naturally venturing as far south as the Mahia Peninsula on the east coast and northern Taranaki on the west coast. However, pohutukawa is widely cultivated outside this natural range. Flowers appear around Christmas and mature seeds in February and March.

Propagation: The tiny threadlike seed should be sown promptly as it does not store well. Sprinkle over a firm flat seed bed of seed raising mix, water well and place in a warm shady place.

Myrsine australis/mapou or red matipo

Mapou grows in a wide range of habitats from wetlands to dry ridges and from dense forest to dry sites. Mapou is a common shrub in the lowland forest understory but tends to be slow growing compared to other shrubs. Flowers can appear any time throughout the year (possibly more often in autumn) and the small fleshy fruit is ripe about a year later.

Propagation: Collect the fruit when it is ripe (black) and sow directly on to a firm bed of seed raising mix and press well in. Cover with a light layer of mix. Seedlings usually appear in two to three months depending on temperature.

Nestegis lanceolata/ white maire

Maire is a small tree of lowland forest often present under kahikatea, matai, pukatea, tawa and titoki. Flowers appear in February and the fruit is ripe the following year. A single hard stone is enclosed within a yellow fruit. The easiest option is to collect the seed off the ground by which time the flesh is likely to have already been eaten off.

Propagation: Sow the washed seeds or whole fruit sparingly on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover with 5 mm of mix. Seeds will generally germinate in late winter or spring.

Olearia rani/heketara

Heketara is a common shrub of well drained hillslopes growing both around forest margins and under the shade of trees. The white daisy-like flowers appear in spring and the seeds with their tiny wings appear soon after. Collect the seed heads as the seed wings begin to dry.

Propagation: Sow on to a firm bed of seed raising mix, cover lightly with mix and/or fine pumice and place in a shady place to discourage weed growth. Move to the light when seedlings appear. Seed can be slow to germinate, taking 9 – 12 months, often with a low germination rate.

Pennantia corymbosa/kaikomako

Kaikomako is a small tree of lowland forest and is often found along forest margins. The juvenile foliage is distinctive, looking like the webbed feet of a duck. When the tree reaches about two metres, the leaves take on a different colour, size and shape and it is this adult form that produces clusters of black fruit that ripen around February or March.

Propagation: Sow directly on to a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix. The seedlings should start appearing around July.

Piper excelsum/kawakawa

Kawakawa is an ideal understory plant as it generates enough shade to suppress most weeds. Like other early colonisers this species grows quickly, however it is intolerant of even light frosts and easily damaged by wind. Kawakawa produces large quantities of fruit in candle-like clusters which turn yellow when ripe in December/January. Pick the fruit as it begins to turn from green to yellow otherwise the birds might beat you to it.

Propagation: Mash the fruit, mix with water and decant off the pulp, leaving the denser seed behind. They can be dried and stored or sown immediately. The seed germinates readily in the summer temperatures.

Phyllocladus trichomanoides/tanekaha

Tanekaha prefers well drained soil and plenty of light and is commonly found on ridges and sloping ground in association with kanuka and kauri. It is a good tree for re-vegetating hillsides especially where soil is poor. Tanekaha is a conifer and the seeds are borne in cones, usually one and sometimes a few seeds in each cone. Pollen is produced in catkins, often both sexes on the same tree. Seed can be collected from low branches during April and May.

Propagation: Sown on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix. Seedlings appear in the spring.

Plagianthus regius/ribbonwood or manatu

Ribbonwood is a quick growing tree of river margins and is sometimes found in regenerating forest. Flowers appear in the spring, male and female on different trees. A single seed contained in a tiny capsule falls attached to a mass of others. These can be collected off the ground in late summer.

Propagation: A small insect sometimes bores a tiny hole in the seed capsule but there is generally no need for treatment. Sow the whole seed capsule on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix. Seedlings appear early in the spring depending on temperature.

Podocarpus totara/totara

Totara is a common forest tree throughout New Zealand and is usually found on dry slopes and ridges although will tolerate damp ground. A single (occasionally double) seed is held on a sweet tasting receptacle, changing from green, through yellow to bright read as it ripens. Collect the seed off the tree or the ground, sifting the latter to remove any unwanted material.

Propagation: Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly. Press down the covering material and soak thoroughly with water. Place in a warm shady place. Seedlings appear in the spring.

Prumnopitys ferruginea/miro

Miro is a tree of hillslopes and forested ranges. The big red fruit is a favourite of kereru and kaka in the autumn. The fruit can be collected from the ground or picked from lower branches.

Propagation: Push the fruit into seed raising mix and cover to a depth of 10 mm. The seed is very slow to germinate and can take two years or more. Place the seed trays in a dark place (under a hedge is one option) to discourage weed growth until the seedlings appear.

Prumnopitys taxifolia/matai

Matai is a tree of damp lowland forest, often growing in association with kahikatea, pukatea and pokaka. The juvenile plant is sparsely foliated with brown needles, changing to green when the young tree reaches about two metres. There are separate male and female trees with small yellow catkins to be seen in October/November and black fruit in March/April. Collect the seed off the ground or from lower branches.

Propagation: Sow immediately on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover with about 5mm of mix. It usually takes about five months for the hard woody seed coat to split to allow the seedling to appear.

Pseudopanax arboreus/five finger

Five finger is a good coloniser of clay banks, especially on cleared exposed sites where there is plenty of sun. It grows to a height of around 8 metres with separate male and female plants. Flower buds can be easily mistaken for ripe fruit whereas clusters of fruit are actually ripe one year after flowering.

Propagation: Mash the ripe black fruit and wash to separate the pulp from the seeds. Sow seeds on a firm bed of seed raising mix, cover lightly with mix and water thoroughly. Cover with plastic or glass and place in a warm shady place.

Pseudopanax crassifolius/lancewood or horoeka

Lancewood tends to grow on dry exposed sites, particularly in scrub or on forest margins. It starts life as a small tree with very thin rigid leaves with a serrated edge before changing to an adult form once it gets over 6 metres. The fruit is found on the mature tree, ripening in late winter/early spring. Lancewood is dioecious (having separate male and female plants).

Propagation: Soften the fruit, wash away the flesh and decant off the pulp leaving the tiny seeds or just sow the fruit whole if you are happy to accept less even germination. Seed sown in July is usually up around Christmas.

Rhabdothamnus solandri/taurepo

Taurepo is a shrub found on rocky stream banks and coastal cliffs. Although it likes well drained conditions, it is very vulnerable to drying out. The flowers appear in the spring and can be found on the plant throughout the summer. Individual flowers last only about a week and are succeeded by a dry capsule full of tiny seeds which are quickly dispersed. Look for plants in flower and then search for mature capsules.

Propagation: Sow the tiny seed on a flat surface of seed raising mix, water well and place in a shady spot. Do not allow the seed tray to dry out.

Rhopalostylis sapida/nikau

Nikau is found in the warmer forests of New Zealand as far south as Westland and Banks Peninsula. It prefers damp shady spots but will do well in exposed sites as well, particularly along the coast. Flowering and fruiting is intermittent and irregular, so look out for ripe fruit any time this palm is encountered. Fruit is red when ripe, but dull buff coloured fruit found on the ground will germinate well too.

Propagation: Press whole fruit into a bed of seed raising mix, cover lightly and water well before placing in a warm shady position. When germinated the large (5-7mm) seeds remain attached to the embryo root and shoot for a year or sometimes more. As soon as germinated, prick out into individual containers.

Schefflera digitata/pate or patete

Pate is a shrub or small tree of damp shady places, common along stream and riverbanks – although not in the flood zone. Like many trees that produce fruit to induce birds to disperse seed, pate has a variable fruiting season with ripe fruit available over several months from March onwards. Ripe fruit swells up and turns from green to white or purple.

Propagation: Fruit can be directly sown on to a firm bed of seed raising mix and covered lightly with mix. Seedlings may take 3 – 4 months to appear over the winter. Prick out into good potting mix as pate responds well to fertile soil.

Sophora microphylla/kowhai

Kowhai is an important food source for nectar feeding birds and is usually found along stream, lake and river margins and around the coast. There are eight species of kowhai and the common Sophora microphylla is quite variable around the country so it is important to collect seed from trees known to be naturally occurring and not planted or descended from planted specimens. The pea-like pods remain on the tree most of the year. Remove the yellow seeds from the pod.

Propagation: The hard shell makes the seeds very durable but they are also slow to germinate. The process can be speeded up by piercing the seed with a needle or soaking in water until they swell up. Sow on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly. Treated seed may germinate within seven to fourteen days.

Streblus heterophyllus/turepo

 Turepo is a small tree of riverbanks and damp sites and although characteristic of lowland forests, is not very common. It is most abundant in the flood zone of lowland rivers because it is very tolerant of prolonged flooding. Turepo is dioecious (separate male and female plants), wind pollinated and not a heavy fruit producer. The small round drupes are bright red making them easy to find in late summer.

Propagation: Sow the ripe fruit on a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly. Seed sown in January should be germinating in late March or April.

Syzygium maire/swamp maire

Swamp maire is a tree of damp boggy places with pneumatophores (breathing roots) as a special adaptation to swampy anoxic soil. It has a similar flower to rata and pohutukawa except white, with a large fleshy red fruit that ripens in February. Pick the fruit from the tree or collect from the ground

Propagation:. Soak the fruit for several days to drown any grubs. Press the fruit into a firm bed of seed raising mix and cover lightly with mix. Seed sown in February generally germinates in April. The seedlings grow quickly; roots will seek out water below the pots but are vulnerable to damage.

Vitex lucens/puriri

Puriri is found naturally growing in forests throughout Northland, northern parts of the Waikato and south along the coasts as far as East Cape and northern Taranaki. In the warmer parts of its range, flowers and fruit can be found on trees year around, making it particularly attractive to hungry birds. Young trees can be frost tender and should not be planted outside their natural range.

Propagation: The large pink fruit each contain one rough textured "stone". Fruit turn black when they fall on the ground but are no less viable. Press the fruits or seeds into a firm flat bed of seed raising mix and only lightly cover with either more mix or fine pumice. Seed sown in late summer generally germinates the following spring.

Weinmannia racemosa/kamahi

Kamahi prefers well drained sites and tolerates infertile soil. It is found on hillslopes, roadside cuttings and can even start out life perched on the trunks of tree ferns. The white candle-like flowers appear in autumn, soon followed by tiny capsules that split open to release fine seeds to be blown in the wind. Collect the capsules when they show the first signs of opening.

Propagation: Store capsules in a paper bag in a warm dry place until they split open. The seeds can be separated by sifting and then sown on a firm bed of seed raising mix. Tiny seedlings will appear in the spring but they are slow and struggle to compete if moss is allowed to establish on the seed tray.

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