Massey university horticulture

Massey university horticulture

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Massey university horticulture department director Delnyne Higgins-Lumas

These trees and shrubs are unique New Zealand floribundas, introduced in the 1800s and native to the rainforests of Central America. They grow rapidly and thrive in a wide range of conditions.

They are rarely seen in New Zealand except in large groups in the North Island.




The spring blossoms attract bees and birds.

Seed pods and capsules:

In autumn, the pods develop into flattened seedcases or capsules. These are covered in hairs and the seeds grow in a silky lining. When the seeds break through the skin and loosen the hairs, the hairs fall out of the fruit. The seedling then germinates.

Plants may germinate in the winter.

Life cycle:

Growing season:

These trees and shrubs grow quickly and may live for more than 100 years. They need to grow in a healthy forest canopy to flower. They have a good resistance to frost but not a good resistance to drought. They are quick to flower. The flowers bloom in spring. The fruits are eaten by native birds and insects. The seeds take a year to mature and the plants are short-lived, surviving between five and 20 years.



Forest dragons are very fond of these trees and shrubs. They have been known to cause forest fires. In New Zealand, these trees and shrubs were called dragon trees and dragon shrubs. They are also called star-apple.

Key plants:

Coprophila biflora – A type of yucca found in the tropics of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. It has long thorns on the stems and root.

Crinodendron divergens – A holly bush with hard white flowers that have small greenish centres. It is a pest-free bush for its berries. The berries turn from green to red as they mature. It is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant bush with red berries.

Crinodendron serpentinum – A bush with small, star-shaped red fruits. It is a perennial.


New Zealand plant name dictionary by Brendan Thomson and Catherine Walsh (2008)

Phytochemistry in Botanical Science: Volume 5, Edited by Christian Wittmack and Beat Köllner, 2003

Seeds and Seedlings: Ecophysiology and Genetics of Plants, Edited by F. Lee St. John, 1982

The Envirome in Forest Ecology: The Role of Environmental Factors in Plant Performance, Edited by R.J. Rieseberg, 2007

Grow Kiwis

Auckland horticulture department horticulturist Kirk Lindl

The kiwi is a native New Zealand bird that’s highly specialised to nectar and other sweet fruits. When it comes to fruit-eating, kiwis are like real-life superheroes. They have special little tongues and teeth, the latter of which bend outwards.

Kiwi plants are hardy, being able to survive in both hot and cold conditions, as long as they have a good shade cover.


Kiwi fruit are corms, which are underground stems that grow just a few centimetres below the surface of the ground.

Corms store a lot of energy. The energy in corms is essential for seeds to germinate in the spring. Kiwis don’t need much light, so they can survive in a wide range of conditions. They need an area of dense shade cover to germinate and to keep seeds and seedlings safe.

Tree and shrub corms are the best way to get your hands on kiwis. They have green leaves and are easy to grow and less expensive than growing your own kiwis.

Research has shown that hardy kiwi corms are also a good growing medium for houseplants.


New Zealand kiwis are able to produce two crops a year. After flowering, the fruit will ripen in a hot, dry season. This process is called maturation. The fruit will then drop to the ground and can lie there for a few months.

Seeds will germinate in the early spring and the baby plants develop until the next hot season. They start flowering when the growing season returns. They will drop their fruit as they grow.

Kiwis are a good source of vitamins A and C and minerals like magnesium. They also have a lot of fibre.


When a seedling has the necessary nutrients, it can begin growing roots and leaves. It can also become active when temperatures are above 10 degrees Celsius. It can then produce leaves and roots. Kiwis don’t flower

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