Brachyglottis repanda Bushmansfriend Rangiora
Brachyglottis repanda was collected by the Forsters at Queen Charlotte sound in 1773. This specimen is held at Kew gardens, London.
It is a shrub or small tree up to 6 metres, with stout brittle spreading branches densely clad in a soft white to buff tomentum. The leaves are between 5-25 X 5-20 cm broad with slightly undulating and lobed margins. The lamina of the leaf does not follow the unduations of the margins and is flat. The petioles of the leaves have a characteristic groove up to 10 cm long. Flowers are found on much branched panicles with each floret being about 5mm in diameter X 12mm long.
It is found in coastal and lowland forest often in high-light situations on the margins or skirts of the forest from North Cape to about Westport.
The large and leathery leaves are highly useful for a number of purposes, hence its common name of bushmansfriend. It makes a practical paper on which letters have been written but is best referred to as bush toilet paper.
In Europe the leaves are recognised as a homeopathic cure for urinary and kidney complaints.
It is an attractive complement to an ornamental garden with its large and hardy leaves and attractive display of flowers in spring.
It can be a difficult species to propagate from seed. Pick the seeds as soon as they suggest they are ripe, which is when the tiny 'parachutes' are blown from the plant in early summer. Collect seeds from a range of plants. Sow directly into the top 5mm of a fine free draining germination mix. Keep warm but do not over water. Germination may begin within 3 weeks. The seed does not store well. The usual method of propagation is by medium wood cutting in early spring.
If you wish to learn more about native plants I suggest one of these natural history books from fishpond