03 October 2009


KawakawaKawakawa, Macropiper excelsum, grows in abundance around here. It prefers the low light of the forest interior and doesn't do well in full sunlight. The moth-eaten appearance of the leaves in this photo is characteristic, and indeed it's the caterpillar of the moth Cleora scriptaria (kawakawa looper) that's largely responsible for this distinctive damage. The English name is pepper tree or pepper wood, but these names are also given to horopito (Pseudowintera colorata); kawakawa, the Maori name, avoids the potential confusion of these two very different small, shrubby trees.

I photographed this near the western end of the Manawatu Gorge walking track on 27 July 2009. This foliage cluster was about head height; the fully grown tree doesn't get much more than about 2–3 times that tall.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor


Zhoen said...

Raggedy tree.

pohanginapete said...

It certainly is, Zhoen. It's so characteristic, a relatively damage-free kawakawa looks odd.

butuki said...

Swiss Trees!

pohanginapete said...

Ha! Nice one, Miguel :^D