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Have a break from looking inside your mind, and look for a minute instead at an enterprising small native New Zealand tree, Houpara (Pseudopanax lessonii). So enterprising is it, that its original natural habitat from the Three Kings south to North Taranaki, in a line across to Poverty Bay, has been extended to as far south as Nelson, and in good conditions, even to Christchurch. It did this by being attractive. People wanted this evergreen hardy, good-looking native in their gardens and have grown it in the most disparate of locations.

Pseudopanax is a genus of about twenty trees and shrubs found in China, New Caledonia, South America, and New Zealand. Fifteen of this species, most of which are capable of growing to a small-tree height are endemic to New Zealand. Houpara is a coastal species in its natural habitat and is often found in coastal forest, frequently associated with pohutukawa.

Houpara is a small spreading tree which grows steadily to 3m high in ten years, and to a maximum of 6m. The tree has stout upright branches tipped with crowding leaves on branchlets. The thickish coriaceous leaves are dark green on the surface and lighter underneath. They are comprised of three-to-five fingered leaflets tapered at both ends with an obvious mid-rib, and are broadly serrated near their tips. 

P. lessonii are dioecious so male and female flowers grow on separate trees, blooming from December through February. The 5mm diameter flowers are yellow-green and in female trees are profuse, presenting most attractively. Fruit ripens to 7mm diameter oval deep purple or black fleshy berries over June and July, with each berry carrying five seeds. They are a welcome source of feed for birds during winter.

This attractive evergreen native will not tolerate heavy frosts but it is hardy and will sustain strong wind, salt, and drought, so is an excellent choice in exposed coastal situations. It responds well to pruning if done from young and is at its best when used as beautiful green screens, or as windbreaks, especially when mixed with similar plants.

Other Pseudopanax in takana stock

Houpara Cyril Watson

(Pseudopanax lessonii)    

Houpara Cyril Watson is a small spreading coastal shrub with a bushy growth habit which grows steadily to 2m high by approx. 2m wide in ten years and up to 3m tall. Dioecious. Blooms from December to February with inconspicuous yellow-green flowers. Attractive to insects and bees. Fruit ripens to dark fleshy berries. Good food source for birds in winter. Won’t tolerate heavy frost but is hardy, drought resistant, and will sustain strong wind. Provides good colour where height not required.

 $125 each

Houpara Sabre

(Pseudopanax lessonii)

A small narrower Pseudopanax coastal tree with steady growth to 3m by ten years, and up to a maximum of 5m. Has long narrow dark-green leather-like leaves with orange mid-ribs aimed at the ground from upright branches.  Its natural habitat is coastal from Gisborne, north. Houpara Sabre is hardy and tolerates wind, salt, and drought. Good choice for narrow sites, or as a focus.

 $95 each

P.lessonii has been developed as cultivars, some of which have come about as hybrids of Houpara and Pseudopanax discolour, P. chathamicus, and common Lancewood, P. crassifolius. Their foliage ranges in colour from rich deep greens to bronze, and even to a lavish bronze purple in P.lessonii purpureus, which in cold months deepens its colouring. Houpara make attractive patio greenery in large planters.

  • Ideal as a screen which will not outgrow its site, and when mixed with other Pseudopanax, produces an elegant native environment
  • Makes an excellent windbreak
  • Good food source of native birds
  • Small birds flock for the seed
  • Does well in full sun or dappled light situations
  • Sustains dry between waterings but flourishes in moist conditions
  • Drought resistant
  • Collect seed in June and July when berries are ripe
  • Responds to pruning – keep one main trunk, or prune tips regularly from young to keep as a shrub
For price and availability list
* All prices are exclusive of GST
PLEASE NOTE:  takana will not be delivering any trees or allowing any visitors to our nurseries over at least the next month during this Level 4 alert period.

102 Omaha Flats Road, Matakana

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