Elaeocarpus dentatus var. dentatus


Elaeocarpus: olive-seed
dentatus: toothed

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


Elaeocarpus dentatus (J.R.Forst. et G.Forst.) Vahl var. dentatus



Brief Description

Canopy tree bearing harsh thin leaves that have obvious pits on the underside and with small teeth along margins. Twigs with small hairs. Adult leaves 10-12cm long by 2-3cm wide, with a sharp tip, Juvenile leaves narrower. Flowers white, lacy, in conspicuous sprays. Fruit purple, oval, 12-15mm long.

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


Dicera dentata J.R.Forst. et G.Forst., Elaeocarpus hinau A.Cunn., Elaeocarpus cunninghamii Raoul


Endemic. North, and South Islands


Common tree of mainly coastal and lowland forest though occasionally extending into montane forest.


Tree up to 20 m tall (usually less), with broad spreading crown. Trunk 1 m diam., bark grey. Branches erect then spreading, branchlets silky hairy when young. Petioles stout, 20-25 mm long. Leaves leathery, (50-)100-120 x 20-30 mm, narrow- to obovate-oblong, broad-obovate, oblanceolate, apex obtuse or abruptly acuminate, dark green and glabrescent above, off-white, silky-hairy below; margins somewhat sinuate, recurved, serrate to subentire. Inflorescence a raceme 100-180 mm long, 8-12(-20)-flowered. Pedicels 10 mm long, silky-hairy. Flowers drooping, (8-)12(-15) mm diam., sepals lanceolate-oblong, 6 mm long, petals white, obovate-cuneate, 3-5-lobed, c. 10 mm long. Stamens 10-20. Fruit a fleshy, ovoid purple-black 12-18 x 9 mm, drupe. Endocarp deeply furrowed and wrinkled.

Similar Taxa

A distinctive tree easily recognised by the erecto-patent leathery bicoloured leaves, white "lily of the valley" like flowers, and small ovoid purple-black drupes. Distinguished from the closely allied pokaka by the lack of a filiramulate, divaricating juvenile and sub adult growth form, and larger leaves, flowers and fruits. The status of Elaeocarpus dentatus var. obovatus Cheeseman accepted by the New Zealand Flora, but not by Druce (1993) needs further investigation. In its typical form this variety seems very distinctive, and pending further study it is retained here, especially as no one has undertaken a modern revision of New Zealand Elaeocarpus.


October - February

Flower Colours



December - May(-June)

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh fruit - though can be slow to germinate. Moderately easy in most soils, light and moisture regimes. However, does best in a deep, moist, well mulched soil.


Not Threatened.

Chromosome No.

2n = 30

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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 11: 285-309

Where To Buy

A beautiful tree which should be more widely grown. Makes an excellent specimen tree and should be more widely used in street plantings. Occasionally available from commercial and specialist native plant nurseries.



Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (4 April 2007). Description adapted from Allan (1961).

References and further reading

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

Druce, A.P. 1993: Indigenous vascular plants of New Zealand. Ninth Revision. Unpublished Checklist held at Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand.

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 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 12 Sep 2014