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Tree to 12 m, dbh 0.6 m. Branchlets, petioles, immature leaves and inflorescence branches covered in dense, brown pubescence. Leaves evergreen, 4–12 × 2–7.5 cm, imparipinnate, leaflets (3–)6(–20), elliptic to oblong, terminal leaflet 4–6 × 1.6–4 cm, subsequent leaflets diminishing to 1 cm long, upper surface glabrous, lower surface with conspicuous deep pouches, entrances of which fringed with hair, margins serrate, apex obtuse to acute; rachis not winged, with dense ferruginous pubescence; petiole to 2 cm long, pubescent; stipules foliose, caducous, 1.1 × 0.5 cm, green with red veins, margins toothed. Inflorescence paniculate, to 15 cm long. Monoecious; flowers unisexual or hermaphrodite, sessile, 0.3 cm across. Fruit a pink capsule, globose to cylindrical, splitting longitudinally to quarter or half of its length; fruit with conspicuous, persistent style. Flowering August to November, fruiting January to March (New Zealand). Allan 1961, de Lange et al. 2002. Distribution NEW ZEALAND: North Is., Northland Peninsula. Habitat Lowland forest, particularly forest margins and along streams. USDA Hardiness Zone 9–10. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT114.
In its native New Zealand, the Makamaka is recommended for planting in sheltered and even shady sites (Native Garden Nursery 2005). It comes from the Kauri forests of the northern part of the North Island and therefore requires a comparatively warm situation (Hudson 2004). When mature it is an attractive small tree, with slightly yellowish green leaves tinged reddish below. The small cream flowers are followed by red fruits. It grew for a few years at Tregrehan but has now died (T. Hudson, pers. comm. 2006), which suggests that it prefers warmer conditions than coastal Cornwall enjoys.