New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

Karo

Botanical name:  Pittisporum crassifolium
Moari name:  Karo
Common name:  Turpentine Tree
Height:  10 metres
Karo can develop into a small tree up to 10m tall. Its natural range is restricted to the upper third of the North Island including adjacent offshore islands. It occurs along forest margins and streams, mostly near the coast. 

Its dark green leaves are tough and leathery with a whitish, densely hairy undersurface (tomentum) enabling them to cope with drying, salt-laden winds. The dark red flowers are described as functionally unisexual, with male and female flowers usually on separate trees. Female flowers occur singly or in groups of up to five and have a yellow spot in their centre. Male flowers are in clusters of 5-10 and they have a ring of five yellow dots (anthers) just inside the petals. Flowering occurs in late winter and early spring. 

Studies have shown that karo flowers supply a similar amount of energy through their nectar as do the later flowering pohutukawa blossoms. They are an important food source in late winter and early spring for tui and bellbirds. Fruit in the form of a green capsule begins forming on female trees in early September. When it ripens and splits open the seeds provide additional food for birds.

'Pittosporum' means 'tar seed', describing the black sticky resin around the seeds.
'Crassifolium' means 'coarse-leaved'.

Karo is one of the commonest trees on Tiritiri Matangi and is easily seen from the main tracks. In 2013 a karo tree was found to be hosting the first green mistletoe (Ileostylus micranthus) found on the Island.

 


Photography by Warren Brewer 
© (bottom left: seeds and foliage), Kay Milton © (top right: male flowers and bottom left: close up of seeds) and Simon Fordham © (middle, female flower).