Miro (Pectinopitys ferruginea)
Miro is a dioecious hardy specimen forest tree which grows to 3m over ten years and up to 25 - 30m. Miro boles are gray- black and sometimes furrowed with only a hint of Matai’s defining hammer marks. It sheds sizeable deep flat flakes with dark inner surfaces exposing purpled inner bark. Miro’s compact crown is spherical but asymmetrical, and can take up half the total tree height. Large branches grow straight out from the trunk unlike Matai’s ascendant limbs, and their huge forms tend to obvious crookedness.
Miro saplings exhibit the same attractive weeping foliage and form as the adult. The leaves are curved, a darker glossy green on the upper surface, pointy-tipped, with distinct mid-ribs. Reddish male and female cones are produced in mid-summer and the green fruit becomes full-sized (2cm) a year later, ripening to dark reddish purple from March to May, although it is retained by the tree until September or October. The succulent yellow-fleshed plum-like fruit contains a nut with a single seed and is an important food source for kereru and other birds.
Miro has one of the greatest distributions of our native trees, from North Auckland to Stewart Island. It is common at sea level to 1050m in the North and up to 750m in the South, being limited only by heavy frosts and sparse rainfall. It adapts to many soils except badly drained wet situations, and is well-represented in the free-draining pumice forests of the North Island volcanic plateau.
It responds to a heavy trim creating excellent hedge plant potential although it will be a slow-growing one.