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Products > Meryta sinclairii
Meryta sinclairii - Puka

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Meryta sinclairii
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Araliaceae (Ginsengs)
Origin: New Zealand (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Greenish White
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Height: 12-20 feet
Width: 15-20 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Meryta sinclairii (Puka) - A round-headed small tree to 18 feet tall with long-petioled large, 1 to 1 1/2 foot long, glossy green paddle-shaped leaves at the ends of the dark brown branches. Male and female flowers are separate but on the same plant and neither are showy. Fleshy, black fruit is produced after the bloom. Plant in full sun to light shade and water occasionally. Though reported to not tolerate much frost is has proven to be hardy to at least 25 F for short durations in our garden. A great tree for near frost free gardens and even takes coastal winds. Its bold foliage also makes it good in containers. This plant comes from near the coast and on the small coastal islands in Three Kings and Hen and Chicken of the north Island of New Zealand. It has never been common and in fact was rare even when William Collenso (1811-1899), a 19th century British missionary and botanist was first shown a single guarded specimen by local Maoris. Though Collenso was not allowed to even touch the plant, he later showed the tree to Dr Andrew Sinclair, (17941861), Colonial Secretary and naturalist and together were able to collect leaf specimens that made it to Kew. Independently, additional specimens made their way to Dr. Joseph Hooker at Kew who named the plant Botryodendrum sinclairii to honor Dr. Sinclair. It was later put in the genus Meryta.  This information is based on research conducted about this plant in our nursery library and from reliable online sources. We also take into consideration observations of it in our nursery of crops, as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens we have visited. We will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Meryta sinclairii.