Shrubby Tororaro

Muehlenbeckia astonii

Shrubby Tororaro / Wirebrush

ABOUT:
Neither Māori nor English names are commonly used for this shrub – the botanical name has taken common place.
Muehlenbeckia astonii is relatively rare outside of cultivation.

IDENTIFY:     
1.5m x 1m. Heart-shaped leaves scattered through orange-brown, zig-zagging twigs in a tangled small bush. Flowers are insignificant, while the white berries attract birds and lizards.

USE:
Provides a soft texture and ephemeral form where hard lines and sharp angles of paving/architecture are to be diffused. Can be trimmed to a low, loose informal hedge (where given a little structural support), or allowed to take its own form in wider screen-plantings. The coloured stems provide warmth in the winter planting.

PLANT:
Prefers drier soils. Just as content in sun or shade, and in shelter or exposure. Tolerates moderate frosts.

SIMILAR TO:     
Creeping Pohuehue (Muehlenbeckia axillaris) – flat habit, not self-supporting. More leaves and darker stems.
Weeping Matipo (Myrsine divaricata) – columnar shrub, with stiff grey twigs curving sharply down.

ECOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE:     
Muehlenbeckia are the only food source for the larvae of the native Common Copper butterfly. Its flowers are also an important nectar source for the adult butterfly. 

MORE INFO:
Taranaki Educational Resource – Muehlenbeckia astonii
NZ Plant Conservation Network – Muehlenbeckia astonii
O2 Landscapes – Muehlenbeckia

 

 

 

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