Use this guide and the photos and images to help identify common New Zealand flowering native trees and shrubs.
This is not a definitive guide but describes the more common flowering trees and shrubs you may encounter in the wild or at a garden centre.
Browse the list below if you know the species name, or follow links for more information.
For Pittosporum use this key
For Conifers or Gymnosperms use this key
For Beech use this key
Schefflera digitata Pate. Found in damp parts of the forest. Leaves are softer and more toothed than Pseudopanax. Leaflets 7-18 cm long.
Pseudopanax gilliesii Three fingered five finger. Shrub to 5 m. Endemic to Whangaroa and Little Barrier Island.
Pseudopanax arboreus. Five finger. Leaves 3-8 foliate leaflets 7-20 cm long.A small tree or shrub reaching 8 metres. Found in lowland Forests throughout NZ. Flowers and berries in umbels.
Pseudopanax lessonii Houpara Coastal Five finger. Shrub to 7 m. Leaves 3-5 foliolate. Leaflets 8-10cm. Note the very long petiole. North Cape to Poverty Bay.
Pseudopanax laetus. The largest leafed Pseudopanax. Petioles and mid ribs purplish red. Central North Island
Melicope ternata Wharangi. Shrub or small tree reaching 8 m. 3 foliolate. North Island near the coast.
Elatostema rugosum Parataniwha. Leaflets 5-13 cm long reddish green. Soft stems. Common in damp groun. Plant to .5m high.
Hibiscus trionum Leaves trifoliate 4-10 cm. Obvious flowers. Possibly introduced by early settlers and not native.
Shrubs with simple leaves longer than 2cm.
Aristotelia serrata Wineberry Makomako. Shrub or small tree reaching 9 m. Leaves 5-12cm long with a long petiole. Blade of leaf broad, rose coloured below. Flowers red-white. Berry 6-9mm; black.
Hedycarya arborea Porokaiwhiri Pigeonwood. Leaves opposite 5-12 cm long. Three Kings to Banks Peninsula.
Haloragis erecta A shrub of scrublands. Often weedy. Note 4 angled stem and leaves with strongly serrate margins.
Coprosma grandifolia syn. Coprosma australis Raurekau Leaves 10-22 cm long, dull green or mottled. Shrub or small tree reaching 7m.
Coprosma lucida Karamu leaves 5-12 cm long. Shrub reaching 5m. Leaves bright green,glossy,thick.
Coprosma repens Taupata leaves 2.5- 7.5 cm long shiny green and glossy. Shrub reaching 8m. Often prostrate. Coastal.
Copros ma robusta Karamu. leaves 5-12 cm long, brownish green, thick. Scruffy shrub to 5m.
Macropiper excelsum Kawakawa. Leaves 5-12 cm. long. Aromatic. North island and south to Banks Peninsula.
Hebe stricta Korimiko. Leaves 5-10 cm. long. Flowers white or mauve, longer than the leaf. North Island and Marlborough.
Geniostoma ligustrifolium Hangehange. Shrub reaching 4m. Leaves 4-8 cm soft and shiny green. North Island to Marlborough.
Coriaria arborea. Tataramoa, Tutu. Leaves 3-10cm long,oval. Shrub to 8 m. Forest and scrub on disturbed soils. Throughout NZ.
Hoheria populnea Lacebark Houhere. Leaves 5-12 cm long, often purplish beneath. Flowers white. North Cape to Waikato.
Colensoa physaloides Koru. Shrub to 1.5 m. Leaves 8-18 cm, similar in leaf shape to an Hydrangea. Soft and tender. Flowers and berries purple or violet. North of Whangarei.
Melicytus macrophyllus Large leaved Mahoe. Shrub reaching 6 m. Glossy leaves 7-15 cm long. Kaitaia to Dunedin.
Melicytus ramiflorus Mahoe Whiteywood. Leaves 5-12 cm. long. Shrub or small tree reaching 10 m. Lowland forest throughout NZ.
Myoporum laetum Ngaio. A shrub or small tree reaching 8 m. Leaves 3-10 cm. long. with small spotted glands. White flowers. Purple berries.
Solanum aviculare Poroporo. Softwooded shrub reaching 3 m. Leaves variable in shape about 10-30 cm. long. Purple flowers. Yellow or orange berries
Entelea arborescens Whau. Leaves 10-24 cm long rounded with small hairs. North Cape to Raglan near the coast and Nelson
Pseudopanax crassifolium Horoeka Lancewood. Leaves 7-20 cm. long. Tree reaching 13 m. Distinctive juvenile form with leaves 15-30 cm long. Auckland to Stewart Island. Picture is of adult form.
Dodonaea viscosa Akeake NZ Hop Bush. Shrub or small tree reaching 10 m. Leaves 2-10 cm. Northcape to Greymouth. Prefers dry spots.
Pisonia brunonnianum Parapara. Small tree or shrub reaching 10m. Leaves 10-40cm long, glossy green. Sticky seeds 3-5 cm long that may trap small birds and insects. Three Kings to East Cape.
Fuchsia excorticata Tree Fuchsia Kotukutuku. A deciduous shrub or small tree to 10 m. Leaves 3-12cm long and slender. Flowers red or purple, 2-3 cm long. Berry 1-1.5 cm long, purplish black.
Mida salicifolia MaireSmall tree or shrub. Leaves 7-12 cm long , variable in width. Lowland forests of the North Island.
Elingamita johnsonii Shrub to 6 m.From west island on the Three Kings this plant is becoming more common in Northern gardens.
Grisilinia lucida Puka. Shrub reaching 8m., often an epiphyte on tall trees. Berry 8mm. long, dark purple.
Grisilinia litoralis Kapuka Broadleaf. Leaves 2-10cm long and assymetrical. Berry 6mm long black.
Pomaderris kumerahou Kumerahou, Gumdiggers soap. Leaves 5-8cm. long with prominent veins and midribs. A shrub to 3m. Flowers numerous and bright yellow in spring. North cape to Bay of Plenty.
Pittosporum eugenoides Lemonwood Leaves 2-7cm long. glossy, light green and citrus scented when crushed. Shrub or small tree reaching 13m. North Cape to South Otago Distinguishing feature: leaves are citrus scented when crushed
Pittosporum colensoi Mountain Pittosporum. Similar to Pitto. tenuifolium but with larger and glossier leaf. Found in alpine regions.
with botanist and author, Tony Foster
Products and Experiences Celebrating New Zealand’s Trees and Shrubs
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