Native plants

Thick-leaved mahoe

Scientific name: Melicytus crassifolius

Pioneer Shrub - native to the Wellington Region
Suits: dry, partial shade, sunny, shelter, exposure, coastal forest garden, coastal and dune garden, small garden or balcony

About Thick-leaved mahoe

An attractive dark green compact hardy shrub with grey speckled branches. This endemic species has a somewhat restricted distribution and is now regarded as At Risk - Declining due to often being browsed by rabbits, possums, goats etc as well as competion with invasive weeds and grasses. Due to its compact growth and tolerance of a wide range of conditions, M, crassifolius is an excellent species for establishing informal structure within gardens. Although it can grow to 2m high in the wild (on very old plants, especially where growing in the shade), it seldom exceeds 1m tall in gardens. It does respond well to trimming, and a nice desidered shape can be easily done.

Ideal for windy situations and very drought tolerant once established, M crassifolius is most often found in open coastal scrub, cobble beaches, cliff faces, and in coarse stable sand dunes. Beyond coastline it may be found in open native grassland and amongst kanuka. It is heavily-branched, with arching stems that taper at the tips to a sharp point. The small bright olive green leaves are thick and tear drop shaped, up to 2 cm long. Tiny fragrant flowers appear in spring to late summer. The flowers are greenish to yellow in coloration and bell shaped, located underneath branches full of nectar. Flowers are followed by fruit from October to May. The fruit are small bright white berries and usually a blue or purple spots appearing on the berry with age. This is all a great adaptation for pollination and seed dispersial with the help of native reptiles like geckos and skinks. However a wide range of native birds do feed on teh fruit as well, and even kereru has been seen feeding on the ground on the fruit.

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

  • Complexity and height
  • Fruit
  • Protection from predators
  • Ground cover for retreat
  • Clump forming for camouflage and insects
  • Nectar

Read more about gardening for lizards.

More detail