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Tree Botanics

Akeake Previous

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Other Names: (Dodonaea viscosa/Olearia paniculata) = Akiraho/(Golden Akeake)

The Maori name for this shrub/small tree (attaining approximately 6m in overall physical height, trunk diameter of only 15cm - 60cm total) means 'forever & ever', referring to the dense, hard nature of the wood, once used by Maori for fashioning various types of clubs/weapons. The Akeake is a member of the Sapindaceae (Soapberry) family, & is most common in coastal and lowland scrub & forests throughout the North island, ascending into subalpine forests as far south as Banks Peninsula (E coast), Greymouth (W coast) in the South Island. Branchlets are grooved, angular & densely covered with hairs, a distinctive reddish-brown bark at the main trunk/limbs peels off in long strips (exfoliates). The leaves are stiff & leathery, approximately 7.5cm long, alternate & short-stalked with wavy edges & white short hairs on their undersides.  They are typically pale - light green in colour. Another key identifying feature are the sweet scented creamy- white flower heads appearing from March - May in dense panicles (1; a compound raceme. 2; any loose, diversely branching flower cluster.) produced from the tips of the branchlets.  Frequently the sexes are on separate trees, however some trees are self-fertile. The seeds are produced in hop-like winged capsules, single-seeded & hairy, ripening between April - July, and are a distinctive feature of this species.