Scientific name: Beilschmiedia tawa
- native to the Wellington Region
Suits: damp, shade, partial shade, sunny, shelter, coastal forest garden
In windy conditions and with sun is shining this tree is a forest garden splendour as the leaves displays their blue-glaucous undersides. A tall and erect standing evergreen canopy tree growing up to 30 metre tall with a tall dark single trunk, developing buttress roots as it grows old. Tawa has a graceful manner in which its willow like foliage hangs from the branches. The leaves are limegreen and thin, narrow, gradually tapering to base and the pointed tip, yellowish when young, when mature drooping, glossy, pale underneath.
May form pure stands but usually occurs in close association with podocarps such as rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum) and Kohekohe (Dysoxylum spectabile). Tawa can also support significant epiphyte gardens in their canopies, often made up of Collospernum and astelia sp.Tawa is the Maori name for this tree and it also means ‘to be purple’ and it is possible the tree’s name is in reference to the dark purple drupes which were valued by Maori as a food source for people and kereru. With its large fruit, shaped to attract the birds, the Tawa is notable for the fact that it relies solely on the Kereru and Kokako for dispersal of its seed.
One of the most easiest trees to grow from fresh seed. Better germination is achieved if the flesh surrounding the seed is cleaned off. Likes a moist free-draining soil, but can tolerate drier conditions. It grows slowly and needs frost protection when young however, it makes a great specimen tree in the garden and can be used in a mixed planting of native trees if there is a large enough area.
Provides for birds