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NZ Plants

Planchonella costata - tawapou

Family: Sapotaceae

Planchonella costata is tall tree with smooth bark and numerous branches. Both branches and leaves are covered with fine hairs when young.  Foliage consists of leathery, elliptic-oblong glossy leaves with prominent veins. The small inconspicuous flowers are followed by spectacular red to purple fleshy fruits. A genus of around 100 species in South America and Australia with tawapou being the only representative of this family in New Zealand. Named after the French botanist, Jules Émile Planchon (1823-1888). Planchonella is sometimes included in the genus Pouteria

A coastal, frost-sensitive plant found as small populations on Norfolk Island and more northern portions of the North Island and its associated offshore islands.

More on tawapou: Takana Newsletter


Vegetative characteristics

Reproductive characteristics

Plant form: tree up to 15 m

Flower symmetry: symmetric


Flower size: 3-5  mm diam.

Leaf form: undivided, elliptic-obovate

Sepals: 4-5

Leaf size: 50-100 mm

Petals: 4-5, green

Leaf arrangement: alternate

Sexuality: bisexual, unisexual (female)

Leaf attachment:

Stamens: 5

Leaf margin: smooth

Ovary: above petals

Leaf surface: hairs sparse

Fruit: fleshy