Pseudowintera colorata Horopito pepper tree
(False wintera, colorata- variegated or coloured in reference to the leaves blotches) Other names horopito, ooramarama, ramarama, pepper tree.
An erect shrub to 2m. tall with dark bark. Leaves on petioles to 1m. 8x3cm. dull green with redblotch above.elliptic ovate. Very pungent to taste with a biting pepper tang on the tip of the tongue. Its distribution is from lowland to higher montane forest. Whangarei south. It prefers cool climates. The fruit is dark red or black. 2-3 seeds per berry. Isolated plants of Pseudowintera colorata set few or any fruit with low seed number per fruit. It seems this species is self incompatible, and will only set viable seed if pollinated by another plant of the same species. The fruits are very palatable to birds.
photo: Luke Cooney
If you wish to learn more about native plants I suggest one of these natural history books from fishpond