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Macropiper excelsum, commonly known as  Kawakawa. It is a unique and culturally significant plant known for its medicinal and culinary uses.

 

Description:

 

  • Size: Kawakawa is a medium-sized shrub or small tree that can grow up to 2 in height, depending on the growing conditions. It has a bushy and multi-branched growth habit.
  • Leaves: The leaves of Macropiper excelsum are large, heart-shaped, and glossy dark green. The veins of the leaves are often prominent, adding to the plant's visual appeal. The leaves have a slightly peppery aroma when crushed.
  • Flowers: Kawakawa produces small, inconspicuous flowers in spikes or clusters. The flowers are greenish-white or cream in color.
  • Fruit: After flowering, the plant may develop small, berry-like fruits that are green when young and turn black when ripe.

 

Growing Conditions:

 

  • Climate: Macropiper excelsum is well-adapted to a range of climates, including temperate and subtropical regions of New Zealand. It is commonly found in coastal forests and lowland areas.
  • Sunlight: Kawakawa thrives in dappled sunlight to partial shade. It prefers a location with filtered light or a spot with some protection from direct sun.
  • Soil: The plant prefers well-draining, fertile soils that are rich in organic matter. However, it can tolerate a variety of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils.
  • Watering: Kawakawa has moderate water needs and prefers regular watering to keep the soil evenly moist. However, it can tolerate short periods of drought once established.
  • Maintenance: This plant is generally low-maintenance. It requires little to no pruning, although light pruning can be done to maintain its shape or remove any dead or crowded branches.

 

Culturally, Kawakawa has been used by the Māori people of New Zealand for generations as a medicinal plant. Its leaves are traditionally used for various remedies and teas due to their reported health benefits. In gardens, Kawakawa is valued for its unique foliage and cultural significance, making it an interesting addition to native plant gardens or landscapes.

 

 

Macropiper excelsum

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