This species is closely related to Pseudowintera axillaris, and is sometimes treated as no more than a variety of it[
Drimys colorata Raoul
Wintera colorata Cockayne
Pseudowintera colorata is an erect, evergreen shrub growing up to 2 metres tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local and commercial use as a medicine and for use in commercial cosmetic preparations. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens, valued especialy for its beautiful, evergreen foliage[
New Zealand - North, South and Stewart Islands
Lowland to higher montane forest, often in secondary vegetation and forming thickets after destruction of the forest[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Pseudowintera colorata is not a very cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate short periods with temperatures down to around -8°c when fully dormant.
Prefers a cool moist position in a well-drained but moisture-retentive humus-rich soil[
]. Dislikes alkaline soils[
]. Succeeds in sun or part shade[
The plant grows well in light woodland[
The plant is aromatic and gives a hot, burning sensation when chewed - it tends to be ignored by most herbivores.
This species hybridizes with Pseudowintera axillaris wherever the two species meet[
Pseudowintera colorata and Pseudowintera axillaris are closely related and were probably used interchangeably for medicinal purposes by the Maori[
An infusion of the leaves has been used as a treatment for chest ailments. A tablespoon of the mix is difficult to swallow, leaving a burning sensation in the throat and chest[
]. A decoction of the leaves is called 'bushman's painkiller'.
The leaves are chewed in order to relieve a toothache.
The leaves are bruised and steeped in water, the decoction is applied externally to treat skin problems[
]. The decoction is also applied to the breasts of a mother weaning her child - the bitter flavour deterring the child from suckling[
A decoction of the aromatic bark is anodyne, aromatic, astringent, tonic[
]. It has been used as a substitute for quinine[
The plant was occasionally used by settlers suffering from diarrhoea[
]. Part not specified.
The sap of the plant is used traditionally in the treatment of stomach ache[
Excellent astringent and stimulating properties; anti-scorbutic[
]. Part not specified[
A decoction of the leaves has been shown to strongly desensitise humans to sweet and possibly also bitter taste sensations, without affecting sensitivity to salty and sour properties[
An extract of the leaves is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as an antimicrobial[
An extract of the leaves and flowers is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame[
], but it can also be sown in the spring[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Consider giving the plants some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors.
Cuttings of greenwood in the summer[