The shiny lettuce green leaves of Hangehange are a common sight in New Zealand forests and bush fragments. These soft fleshy leaves can be distinguished from other plants by a distinctive “drip tip”, an elongated point at the end of the leaf that allows rain to run off.
Hangehange leaves were used as a flavouring in Māori cuisine. The roots of kumara and cabbage tree were wrapped in Hangehange leaves and cooked in a hāngī; the leaves imparting a distinctive flavour to the meal. The bark also has a number of uses. It could be beaten to a pulp to produce a black dye, and a lotion made from the sap was used to treat children’s sores and itchy skin.
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