Melicope ternata


Māori used the leaves and gum for their citrus scent, also chewing the gum to sweeten breath for sufferers of halitosis.
Some references advise the leaves are poisonous to stock, and honey made from its flowers are poisonous to people.

2-4m high x 1.5-3m wide. An lush evergreen tree with lime-green leaves divided into 3 leaflets – smelling like citrus when crushed. The small yellow-green flowers are pale, 4-petalled, and the seeds are black and shiny, with no fleshy fruit.

Perfect for hedging or screen plantings, with a finer leaf than Broadleaf. The bright leaves lighten up darker areas, and contrast against darker leaves such as Pittosporum. Grown as hedging on either side of a path, the rounded canopy creates a pedestrian archway as plants mature. Good also used in revegetation, Nelson and northwards.

Best suited to lowland and coastal climates where temperatures don’t get too low. Slightly tender to frosts. Grows well in sun or semi-shade. Will tolerate small droughts, but prefers a regular water supply.

Whārangi is one of the many native and introduced hosts to the common native green mistletoe (Ileostylus micranthus). It is also favoured by possums.

Taranaki Educational Resource – Melicope ternata
NZ Plant Conservation Network – Melicope ternata




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