Neomyrtus pedunculata (Rohutu)

Neomyrtus pedunculata (Rōhutu)

Kingdom: Plant
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Subfamily: Myrtoideae
Tribe: Myrteae
Genus: Neomyrtus
Species: N. pedunculata
Binominal name: Neomyrtus pedunculata
Synonyms: Myrtus pedunculata, Eugenia vitis-idaea, Myrtus vitis-idaea
Common name: Rōhutu, Myrtle
Neomyrtus pedunculata is a native shrub or small tree openly to compact branched with four-angled branchlets. It will grow to 6-8m tall and grows from Kaitaia south to Stewart Island. Its habitat is in cool moist coastal to montane forest and shrubland often growing in infertile soils. It grows up to an altitude of 1050 metres. It found on Mt Egmont/Taranaki in the Kamahi forests. The small roundish leaves (6-20mm x 4-15mm) are opposite, thick and leathery with thickened smooth margins. They have prominent oil glands on the underside.

In January it develops white open flowers (6-7mm) on 15mm long stalks. The flowers have long stamens. The flowers are followed in February-June with broadly ovoid 6-8 mm long orange, red or yellow berries on long stalks. They contain 2-5 seeds.

It is reported that a decoction was made from the bark and berries of the rōhutu tree used as a medicine in cases of difficult menstruation. (Best 1905) The ripe berries contain anthocyanins, reported to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. (Cambie, Ferguson 2003)

For more details visit: New Zealand Plant Conservation Network

Neomyrtus pedunculata Rohutu.JPG

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