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Tree Botanics

Lemonwood Previous

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Other Names: (pittosporum eugenoides) Lemonwood = Tarata

The Lemonwood, member of the extensive Pittosporacea family is a small, spreading round-headed tree reaching heights of up to 13m with a trunk diameter of up to 60cm. It is common throughout lowland forests across New Zealand from sea level to 760m, but rare over a wide area of the Southern Alps. Its bark is pale grey to an almost whitish hue, the leaves are light green, glossy, glabrous (smooth; especially: having a surface without hairs or projections ), elongated & more or less whorled (an arrangement of similar anatomical parts (as leaves) in a circle around a point on an axis). They are approximately 5cm - 10cm long, with undulating margins, the midrib being very pale. When crushed they give a very distinctive lemon scent, hence the common name. Lemonwood is mainly dioecious as a species (having male reproductive organs in one individual and female in another). The flowers are produced in terminal clusters and are greenish-yellow with a sweet honey-like scent. They usually appear between the months of October - December. The woody 2-valved seed capsules are about 7mm in length, green initially, turning to black & wrinkled when ripe, this process usually taking 12 months to reach run full cycle. The seed is contained within a sticky secretion. Lemonwood is also commonly known as tarata.