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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. We grew this very nice plant from 1997 until 2013 at which time we were no longer able to obtain viable seed and vegetative propagation became difficult becaue rodents found a liking to eating the stems of our container plants. Would likley grow it again if we could again get seed.  The information presented on this page is based on research that we have conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also consider observations we have made of it growing in the nursery's garden and in other gardens we have visited, as well how it performs in our nursery crops out in the field. We will incorporate comments that we receive from others as well and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they have knowledge of cultural information that would aid others in growing Meryta sinclairii.