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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Plant of the Week: Entelea arborescens

I have decided on something a little different for this week’s plant of the week.  It’s a plant that I remember seeing as a kid during bush walks and a lot recently in various places around Auckland (including a large specimen at the Auckland zoo).  To be honest I have always thought it was a weed, but I have recently learnt a little more about it and in fact it’s a New Zealand native tree with the common name "Whau". 
The cool thing about this native is that its timber is one of the lightest of all trees in the world, yes even lighter the Balsa and it’s density less than Cork.  It has really pretty white flowers in the spring, which stand out against it’s large bright green heart shaped leaves.  The flowers then turn into these fascinating brown spiky seedpods. With the fact that it is a fast growing (up to 6m) spreading tree I am going to attempt to grow some from seed this coming spring, so I’m off for a hunt this weekend for some of the seeds.  Might have to visit the zoo.  I’ll let you know how I go!!!

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