Scientific name: Myoporum insulare
Other names: Boobialla
Not native to Wellington
About Tasmanian ngaio
Tasmanian ngaio, also called boobialla, is very similar to New Zealand’s ngaio, Myoporum laetum. Tasmanian ngaio has been commonly planted around Wellington in the mistaken belief that it is the native species. The hybridising of these species and the widespread planting of these non-natives means it is too late to stop these species from inbreeding.
Usually spread by birds, Tasmanian ngaio outcompetes slower growing coastal trees and plants on open cliff sides, slopes and dunes.
The main difference is the almost universally green, sticky leaf buds of the Tasmanian ngaio, whereas the New Zealand native ngaio usually has black buds and leaves dotted with glands. The Tasmanian ngaio has smaller flowers (7-8 mm) than the New Zealand ngaio (10-15 mm).