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Common Name: Ngaio
Myoporum laetum is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 6.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
All parts of the plant contain a liver toxin[
Usually found by the coast, often to the high tide mark[
], it is also found in lowland forests on North, South and Chatham Islands south to latitude 46°s[
Easily grown in most soils[
] so long as they are well-drained[
]. Succeeds in dry soils[
] and in poor soils[
]. Very resistant to maritime exposure and salt spray[
This species is not very hardy in mainland Britain, it succeeds outdoors on the Scilly Isles[
] but usually requires greenhouse protection elsewhere[
]. Plants flower freely in Cornish gardens[
]. Plants do not tolerate temperatures below 0°c[
The leaves emit a resinous smell when bruised[
]. The flowers are also fragrant[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. The fruit is about 6 - 9mm in diameter[
]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on possible toxicity.
Odontalgic, vulnerary. The bark is used to treat ulcers[
A decoction of the leaves is used as an insect repellent[
]. It is effective against mosquitoes[
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse 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 their first few winters outdoors.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, mid summer in a frame. Pot up in the autumn. Good percentage[