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Coprosma brunnea is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 0.10 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
Lowland to higher montane river beds, open grassland and rubbley places on North, South and Stewart Islands[
Requires a moist, very well-drained neutral to slightly acid soil in full sun or light shade[
]. Succeeds in most soils, so long as they are well-drained[
]. Very tolerant of maritime exposure[
Somewhat intolerant of frost[
], this species is hardy at Kew but it prefers milder winters[
]. It does not succeed in the colder areas of the country[
]. Fruits are freely produced in Ireland[
]. Does well on a sunny ledge in the rock garden[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
], especially C. petriei[
]. There are several named forms, selected for their ornamental value[
Plants are normally dioecious, though in some species the plants produce a few flowers of the opposite sex before the main flowering and a few hermaphrodite flowers are sometimes produced[
]. Male and female plants must usually be grown if seed is required.
Fruit - raw[
]. Sweet, but with little flavour[
]. The fruit is white or blue and up to 8mm long x 6mm wide[
The roasted seed is an excellent coffee substitute[
A yellow dye is obtained from the wood, it does not require a mordant[
An excellent medium-height ground cover[
Seed - probably best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse or cold frame[
]. Sow stored seed in spring in a cold frame[
]. Germination can be slow, often taking more than 12 months even when fresh seed is used[
]. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots. Grow on the plants for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Give the plants some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, autumn in a frame.