Recommended Books

A  Field

             Guide to the

            Native Edible Plants of New Zealand

A practical field guide to New Zealand's native edible plants. Andrew Crowe

Gardener's Encyclopaedia of NZ Native Plants

 Gardener's Encyclopaedia of NZ Native Plants by Cave, Paddison

Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand

 Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand  by Poole and Adams

The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Native Trees

 The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Native Trees by J.T. Salmon

Which Native Plant Can I Grow Here?

100 Best NZ Native Plants for Gardens

Click here to buy posters!

High Altitude Mountain Daisies (Celmisia Semicordata), Mt Cook NP, Canterbury, New Zealand
High Altitude Mountain Daisies (Celmisia Semicordata), Mt Cook NP, Canterbury, New Zealand
McCormack, Gareth
18 in. x 24 in.
Buy this Photographic Print at



 Juvenile and adult forms

One of the intriguing features of the New Zealand flora is the high percentage of plants which have a distinctly different leaf shape or growth habit as a juvenile, compared to that of the adult.
The theories put forward to account for this centre on the different environmental factors, both living and non living, present close to the ground, in the case of the juvenile, and higher in the canopy or under story, for the adult. A coarse or unpalatable leaf may hinder browsers close to the ground, while as a tree with a trunk over the height that a browser may reach may mean the juvenile leaf is inefficient and unnecessary in a high-light environment of the canopy.
Pseudopanax crassifolium lancewood is the most well known NZ native plant that adopts this habit. The juvenile may have an unbranched habit with a coarsely serrated leaf of dimensions 4cm wide and 35cm long, while the adult forms a branched canopy tree with a smooth edged leaf of dimensions 6cm wide and 25 cm long. In comparing the 2 leaf types one could be forgiven in thinking they were 2 distinct species. In fact, colonial botanists did classify them as distinct species.
Pseudopanax crassifolium Lancewood_adult  
The adult form
The juvenile form
pseudo_cra_ leaf2
A juvenile leaf with its toothed margin

Dacrydium kirkii monoao is a conifer which also has strikingly different leaf shapes as the picture shows.
Dacrydium kirkii monoao
The adult form is on the left, the juvenile on the right
These branches are on the same tree

Many plants adopt a divaricating or twisted form as a juvenile, then adopt a more conventional shrub or tree form when they mature. Kowhai, Totara, and Matai all do this.
Whatever the reasons or advantages to the plant for this feature, it reiterates the fact that  the New Zealand flora is one of the most interesting in the world.


 Tell a friend about this site because they will thank you for it.


Species list for information on native plants

Agathis australis       Alectryon excelsa     Alseuosmia banksii Aristotelia serrata    Arthropodium cirratum Beilschmiedia tarairi Beilschmiedia tawa  Brachyglottis repanda Carmichaelia    Carpodetus serrata Coprosma          Cordyline australis     Cordyline banksii.  Corynocarpus laevigatus    Cyathodesfasiculata    Dacrydium cupressinum  Dacrydium kirkii         Dianella nigra     Dodonaea viscosa Dysoxylum spectabile Elaeocarpus dentatus    Elingamita johnsonii  Entelea arborescens    Fuchsia excorticta     Fuchshia procumbens  Gaultheria               Geniostoma ligustrifolium Hebe  Hedycarya arborea               Hoheria populnea    Kunzea ericoides   Laurelia novae zelandiae     Lophomyrtus  Libocedrus plumosa Leptospermum scoparium            Knightia excelsa    Macropiper excelsum Meryta sinclairii    Melicope ternata Melicope simplex    Melicytus ramiflorus          Metrosideros excelsa  Myoporum laetum    Myrsine australis    Nothofagus       Phormium tenax Phyllocladus trichomanoides    Prumnopitys    Pittosporum          Pisonia brunonnianum   Podocarpus dacrydioides         Pratia physaloides  Planchonella costata      Pseudopanax    Pseudowintera colorata          Pomaderris kumaraho  Rhabdothamnus solandri        Rhopalostylis sapida    Rubus                 Schefflera digitata    Solanum aviculare    Sophora microphylla    Tecomanthe speciosa  Toronia toru            Vitex lucens    Weinmannia



Scenic New Zealand Blank Greeting Cards  


Classic Walks of Scenic New Zealand Book


Rainbow Forest - A Magic Forest Walk - New Zealand Nature Sounds Music CD




New Zealand Nature Walks     New Zealand Native Plants     

Bushman's Friend New Zealand Nature Walks

with botanist, Tony Foster


Products and Experiences Celebrating New Zealand’s Trees and Shrubs

Campbell Rd. Totara  North 

RD2  Kaeo 0479

Northland  New Zealand

Phone:  09 4051844      

© 2006 Bushman's Friend          New Zealand Nature Walks and New Zealand Trees and Plants