Akeake forms a spreading tree up to about 4 metres high. The seed pods are useful for floral work. The tree grows best in a medium well drained soil and survives salt spray well. It is easily propogated by seed that can be collected at the end of summer. The wood is dense and heavy. Maori used it for weapons.
The red form (purpurea) is a stunning tree if planted in contrast to other greener shrubs. It grows much as the green form. This variety was discovered in the 1890s on the banks of the Wairau river, Marlborough. The original plants no longer survive as they were washed into the river during a flood.
One of the easiest native plants to grow from seed. Pick the pods from female plants before they fall in February. Squeeze out the single black, spherical seed from each pod. Alternatively, gather the seed-pods, dry out in a brown paper bag in the hot water cupboard. Macerate this dry matter between your hands. Separate seeds from chaff by sieve. 50-100 per gram. Sow straight away. Germination begins straight away with fresh seed; (7days) after sowing. Seed stores well with slower and more erratic germination the older the seed. The seedlings are hardy and quick growing. They can be 1 metre high one year from germination and flower and set seed 3 years from germination.
If you wish to learn more about native plants I suggest one of these natural history books from fishpond