Beilschmiedia tarairi

Common Name(s)


Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Beilschmiedia tarairi (A.Cunn.) Benth. et Hook.f. ex Kirk



Brief Description

Common canopy tree of northern North Island. Leaves large, leathery, oval, silvery underneath, margins curved. Twigs and young leaves with reddish down. Flowers inconspicuous. Fruit very large, dark purple, glossy, held upright, containing a single large elliptical seed which has a network of veins on the papery surface.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Laurus tarairi A.Cunn., Nesodaphne tarairi (A.Cunn.) Hook.f.


Endemic. Confined to the North Island where it most common north of Auckland and Thames. However it also occurs in scattered pockets in the west south of Port Waikato to the Kawhia Harbour, inland at Pukemokemoke (near Tauhei), and in the east it occurs very locally from the eastern end of Papatea Bay to East Cape.


Common canopy forming tree in lowland and lower montane forests north of Auckland. Often associated with kauri (Agathis australis), and pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa), and on basalt rocks and soils puriri (Vitex lucens).


Evergreen tree up to 22 m tall, with very broad canopy crown. Trunk to 1 m diam. Bark smooth, dark brown. Branches stout, spreading. Branchlets, young leaves, petioles and young inflorescences densely clad in reddish brown tomentum. Foliage closely alternate, erecto-patent, simple, leathery. Petioles (8-)10(-12) mm. Leaves (36-)50-72(-85) x (26-)34-48(-56) mm, wide-elliptic to wide-obovate, dark green and glabrous above, bullate, glaucous below, with stout veins covered in reddish brown tomentum, margins entire,, apex rounded, retuse and mucronate. Inflorescence and erect, axillary panicle up to 100 mm long. Flowers sexually perfect, 3-5 mm diam., greenish, often partially clothed in dense reddish-brown tomentum, perianth cleft into 6, stamens 12. Fruit an erect, ellipsoid to ovoid drupe (28-)30(-35) x (14-)16(-18) mm, 1-seeded, pericarp fleshy, dark purple when ripe, covered in waxy glaucous bloom.

Similar Taxa

A very distinct species whose broad, dark-green, bullate leaves with their distinctive glaucous undersides, and large, erect plum-like dark purple fruits serve to immediately distinguish it from all other indigenous trees and shrubs.


(September-) November (-December)

Flower Colours



March - November

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed. Better germination is achieved if the flesh surrounding the seed is cleaned off.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.


Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Fleshy drupes are dispersed by frugivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Beilschmiedia tawa Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=1540 (Date website was queried)


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 12 February 2004. Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Wright (1984).

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Wellington, Government Printer.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309

Wilcox, M.D. 2001. Establishment of forest monitoring plots in Kirks Bush Papakura with special reference to Taraire (Beilschmiedia tarairi). Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 56: 76-79.

Wright, A. E. 1984: Beilschmiedia Nees (Lauraceae) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 22: 109-125.


This page last updated on 13 Nov 2017