Kānuka has a tough time bursting through to the public spotlight. It’s often overshadowed by its cousin mānuka – stealing the limelight with headlines about its remarkable medicinal honey. But kānuka is an incredibly impressive plant in its own right that stands apart from its fellow tea-tree. While mānuka can be found in both New Zealand and Australia, our kānuka species are endemic to NZ and found … Continue reading Kānuka – Kunzea spp.
I am very excited to announce the publication of: The Meaning of Trees – the history and use of New Zealand’s native plants. When I first began this blog in 2014, I was completing my undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Auckland. In the back of my mind, I had always dreamed of turning the blog into a book, but didn’t know how … Continue reading The Meaning of Trees Book
Over the years, many people have speculated that the pipeweed the hobbits are smoking is actually Cannabis sativa. Proponents of this theory point to the tendency for hobbits to become drowsy or giddy after smoking it, and suggest that this may help explain their voracious appetite. Continue reading The Botany of Middle Earth – Part II
History & Culture Today, New Zealand’s plant life is widely admired and readily adopted as symbols of our identity and culture. But for many of the early European settlers first setting foot on New Zealand, the forest was viewed in a hostile, fearful manner. Exchanging manicured fields and rolling pastures for a land covered in dense, rugged, unfamiliar forest; it is not surprising that many … Continue reading Pōhutukawa – Metrosideros excelsa
The history of brewing alcohol in New Zealand is relatively short. Māori were one of the few indigenous groups in the world that had no history of alcohol use – a title they share with they inuit of Canada and several Native american tribes. They got by fine by drinking plain water, occasionally garnished with fern fronds, or sweetened with flax nectar or sugar from … Continue reading A Guide to New Zealand Plant Beers, Wines & Spirits
The easiest way to identify taraire is to listen for the crunch of its leathery leaves under your feet. The large, green leaves are very slow to rot, and over time will build up in a thick, crunchy blanket on the forest floor. This leaf-layer smothers out many other seedlings and plants, leaving the forest open and easy to navigate on foot. The other remarkable feature … Continue reading Taraire – Beilschmiedia tarairi
Lacebark is also known as thousand jacket or ribbon wood and these names all refer to the soft net-like fibre underneath its bark which is perforated with holes. This bark has a soft, delicate appearance and can be used in fine decorative weaving. Continue reading Lacebark – Hoheria populnea