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Products > Entelea arborescens
Entelea arborescens - Whau

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Malvaceae (w/Bombacaceae & Sterculeacea)
Origin: New Zealand (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 15-20 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Entelea arborescens (Whau) - A large tropical looking shrub or small tree to 15 to 20 feet tall with 4 to 8 inches long heart-shaped bright green held on long petioles. From early spring to mid-summer appear in profusion the nearly 1 inch wide fragrant flowers with white petals and densely clustered yellow stamens in the center that held erect in open umbellate cymes and are followed by brown seed capsules with inch long rigid spines. Plant in a rich well drained soil in coastal full sun, part day sun or in bright shade under an open understory - it noted as not doing well in a deep shade. Water fairly regularly as this plant does not like to go completely dry. It seems best in near frost free locations but noted to be able to handle a short duration temperatures down to around 26 F, but we have not had it at the nursery experience any temperatures below 31 F, which it handled without damage. It is noted as being a good coastal zone plant given protection from direct sea winds (Hoyt Zone 3). Entelea arborescens is a monotypic (only plant in the genus) species within tribe Sparrmannieae of the Hibiscus family, the Malvaceae, and is endemic to New Zealand. It grows naturally in low forest along the coast of the North Island and the northern tip of the South Island, but only within a few miles of the coast. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'enteles' meaning "perfect", in reference to the stamens of the flowers all being fertile. The specific epithet is from the Latin word 'arbos' and means "tree like" in reference to this plants larger stature. The common name Whau is a Maori word that is thought to be derived from the Polynesian word for the related hibiscus. The foliage of Entelea is sometimes compared to that of the related Lime Tree (Tilia europaea) and the wood is very light, rivalling balsa (Ochroma pyramidale) and these factors account for the common names Evergreen Lime and Corkwood used by European settlers to New Zealand. Anther common names used is New Zealand Mulberry. Our thanks go out to Jason Dewees for the seedlings of this crop that he grew from seed collected at the SF Botanical Garden. The picture on this page from Wikimedia of a plant photographed at the Auckland Botanic Gardens by Polish botanist Krzysztof ZiarnekThe information provided on this page is based on research we have conducted about this plant in our nursery's library, from what we have found about it on reliable online sources, as well as from observations in our nursery of crops of this plant as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens. We will also 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  Entelea arborescens.