Ascarina lucida var. lucida
Ascarina lucida Hook.f. var. lucida
Vascular - Native
Ascarina lucida Hook.f.
Endemic. North and South Islands: From Kaitaia south to Wellington, mostly in the west , and only common in the Coromandel Ranges. Abundant on North-west Nelson and Westland.
Coastal to montane. A forest species which is most common in the wetter lowland and coastal forest of North-west Nelson and Westland. Elsewhere it is mostly uncommon, sporadic and often absent over large parts of its range.
Glabrous monoecious shrub or small tree up to 8 m; trunk up to 300 mm diameter. Branchlets slender, becoming striate, dark purple. Interpetiolar stipules conspicuous, hair-like, 3, dark reddish-purple to maroon. Petioles 8-10 mm long; lamina coriaceous, 20-80 × 15-38 mm, elliptic to oval to obovate, obtuse to acute to subacuminate, cuneately narrowed to base; margins coarsely serrate; surface glossy yellow-green (rarely dark green) above, paler below, serrations dark purple-black or maroon. Inflorescences spicate; spikes oppositely arranged, solitary or openly branched up to 5 times, slender; branches 30-40 mm long. Flowers alternate, sessile, subtended by green or red-tinged, 0.8-1.2 mm long, less crenulate to serrate, deltoid to broadly ovate, acute bract and a smaller lateral pair. Male flower with one cylindric anther 2.5-3.0 mm long; Female flower smaller, solitary or 2-3 together located between anther and stem stigma broad, sessile, ovary sessile. Fruit 2.5-3.0 mm long, broadly ovoid, fleshy white drupe.
Ascarina lucida var. lanceolata which is endemic to Raoul Island in the Kermadec Islands group is clearly related. A. lucida var. lucida differs from A. lucida var. lanceolata by the dark purple stems; by the 3 simple, conspicuous, reddish-purple filamentous stipules which lack fused bases; smaller, yellow-green leaves with purple-black or dark maroon pigmented serrations; more openly branched inflorescences with less congested flowers, and white drupes. Ascarina lucida var. lucida seems to be monoecious while A. lucida var. lanceolata appears to be gynodioecious - but this aspect needs further study.
August - December
Main Flower Colour
Other Flower Colour
Red / Pink
January - May
Very easy from fresh seed and cuttings. Rather cold sensitive and prefers moist soils, doing best in a sunny, sheltered situation.
Not Threatened but very uncommon in the North Island
2n = 26
This page last updated on 2 Feb 2013