This special little shrub is a tough outer island inhabitant, as well as a northern coastal mainlander growing north from the Bay of Islands, but also on Kapiti Island and many of the Cook Strait Islands.
Melicytus novae-zealandiae is a hardy small shrub which grows to as much as 5m in certain areas such as the Kapiti Coast and Cook Strait Islands, but more typically this multi-trunked bush grows to 3-4m in height. It is dioecious, with mid-green waxy oval leaves with rounded shallow serrated edges.
Coastal Mahoe is a flowering shrub and belongs to the violet family. Its’ blooms are pale green-yellow cylindrical forms, like a long bell, with recurved tops and sweet-nectared stamens. The 3mm blooms are produced in clusters from leaf axials or directly on lower stems throughout August and September. Initially recorded as being entomophilous (pollinated by insects), later observations prove that windborne pollination is also common.
Female shrubs produce white ovate berries with deep purple spots to entirely purple, from early September to October.
Tough coastal conditions are Melicytus novae-zealandiae’s natural environment and it withstands sustained strong winds and salt spray. This shrub is an ideal choice for exposed marinas, and other unprotected coastal situations. Coastal Mahoe also reacts well to being clipped.
Collect seed during February and March and stratify for two to four weeks. Seed will generally germinate quite easily.