(previously known as Pukateria littoralis)
Broadleaf / Kāpuka
Broadleaf became famous as a hedge in the UK even before its widespread use in Aotearoa. It was used medicinally by Māori for tuberculosis and some sexually transmitted illnesses, as well as being known for the durability of its wood.
4-6m high x -4m wide. This evergreen small tree has leathery leaves that are not symmetrical.
Several strains are in the marketplace, including:
Variegata – Green leaves with irregularly blotched margins of cream/lime.
Broadway Mint – Lime-green leaves, with a wavy edge. The most widely planted in NZ.
Whenuapai – Darker glossy green leaves with a more upright growth habit.
Canterbury / Twilight – Smaller dark leaves and orange/red stems.
Alpine – Fast-growing yet compact, maturing at 1.5 high x 1m wide.
Ardmore Emerald – Dark green leaves, more glossy than the species.
Dixon’s Cream – White/cream leaf centre, with irregularly blotched green margins.
Emerald – Hardier than most varieties. Green stems and wider leaves.
Cobb Valley / Cob – Orange/red stems. 2.5m x 2.5m.
Hedges perfectly because of the thick leaves that can be cut through without browning at the edges. Similarly, larger topiary features can be carved from its leafy mass.
Also excellent in screening borders because of its dense vegetation and lush colour.
A very cold-hardy plant. Plant 40cm to 1m apart for hedges, depending on the desired height. Very drought-tolerant once established. In higher-humidity climates such as Auckland, good aeration is important to reduce chance of rot.
Akapuka (Griselinia lucida) – similarly a small tree, but leaves much larger and flatter. Naturally more common growing as an epiphyte. Not hardy to frosts.
Ripening in autumn, the berries are eaten by tui and kereru. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants, so berries will only develop where both are close.
Kereru also feed on the leaves.