Parataniwha

Elatostema rugosum

Parataniwha / NZ Begonia

ABOUT:
Typically grows in damp shaded places. The Māori name means “home of the taniwha” – a mythical monster. This refers to it frequently being found in damp gullies, at the foot of waterfalls, and in similar places of isolated intrigue where a taniwha might hide.
Young leaves red on the upper side use the red as a sunscreen for protection. Older leaves with red only below use the colour to reflect light that has passed through the leaf back up, to get maximum benefit in photosynthesis.

IDENTIFY:
Grows to 1m high. Characterised by its rough, heavily-furrowed leaves with strongly serrated edges. New leaves are bronze/red. Stems are fleshy. Forms clumps by spreading.

USE:
Makes for an eye-catching display in a cool, shaded spot. South-facing banks or even green-walls would benefit from this splash of leaf colour. Good also for revegetation in places too dark for many other plants to readily establish.

PLANT:
Plant while bearing in mind its natural tendency for shaded streamside and gully sites – North Island only.

MORE INFO:
Oratia Nursery/Titirangi Tatler – Parataniwha
Taranaki Educational Resource – Elatostema rugosum
NZ Plant Conservation Network – Elatostema rugosum

 

 

 

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