New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

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..


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).