Native plants


Scientific name: Coprosma repens
Maori name: Taupata, naupata
English name: Mirror plant
Other names: looking glass plant

Pioneer Tree, shrub (under 10m) - native to the Wellington Region
Suits: damp, dry, partial shade, sunny, shelter, exposure, coastal forest garden, coastal and dune garden, small garden or balcony

About Taupata

A distinctive, common coastal species easily recognised by the very glossy, dark or lime green, broadly oblong to round leaves with an
almost plastic feel
to them. It can either be a low-growing shrub or small tree up to 8 metre. It is a remarkably resilient plant, with an ability to adapt to a variety of situations - a small, stunted, often prostrate shrub or bizarrely contorted tree growing on or among rocks apparently devoid of soil in exposed coastal situations, or with its dazzling bright-green foliage reflecting the sunlight in a protected situation with rich soil. In coastal forest it sometimes forms the main understorey together with kawakawa.

The plant’s tolerance to a hammering are what make it great for the garden as well as the coastline. The leaves give a lush greenbackdrop to other plants while, at the same time, can provide hedging and shelter from coastal winds.
Taupata can grow in a variety of conditions, but does best in a sunny spot, in a loose, sandy soil. In the garden, where conditions are a little less harsh than the beach, the leaves grow broader and flatter, and taupata can be easily grown and pruned to a hedge of 1-2m tall. This extremely tough plant with its leathery leaves allows it to withstand salt spray, making this a plant excellent growing close to the sea. At the beach, the leaves are often partly rolledup to decrease their surface area, which helps them avoid moisture loss from the wind.
 The small flowers appear in spring and have sexes on separate individuals .They have acreamy coloration and are wind pollinated. After flowering, female plants fruits profusely with bright orange coloured drupes in summer and autumn (January- April) and much prized by native birds. The fruit is sweet and juicy with a slight bitter aftertaste. The seeds, although small, can be roasted and provide a potable coffee substitute (the Coprosmas are members of the coffee family, Rubiaceae).



Provides for birds

  Nectar Fruit Seeds
Key . . .

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Read more about gardening for birds or see full nectar calendar.

Provides for lizards

  • Fruit
  • Ground cover for retreat
  • Clump forming for camouflage and insects

Read more about gardening for lizards.

More detail