Verbenaceae, now Lamiaceae
Puriri, New Zealand Chaste Tree
- Broadleaf evergreen tree, to 30-60 ft (~10-20 m) tall, spreading, rounded crown. Leaves opposite,
palmately compound, 3 or 5 leaf lefts, with 5 leaflets the 2 basal leaflets are much smaller than the remaining
3, each leaflet is obovate to oblong-elliptic, to about 12 cm long, 5 cm wide, tip pointed (acute or acuminate),
margin wavy but entire, shiny dark green. Flowers pink or red (occasionally white), tubular, to about 3.5 cm long, composed
of 2 petals, which together form 4 lobes, and 4 long stamen, the flowers are in axillary clusters (panicles).
Fruit bright red, rounded, 2 cm wide, matures in the spring. The flowers produce nectar
and are extremely popular with birds, as are the fruits. Humans, however, generally consider the fruit
has poor flavor.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 9 (semi-tropical) Native to New Zealand (North Island).
- Puriri: the Maori name of this tree, sometimes 'kauere'.
- lucens: bright, shining