Streblus banksii


banksii: Named after Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, GCB, PRS (24 February 1743 - 19 June 1820) was an English naturalist, botanist and patron of the natural sciences.

Common Name(s)

Large-leaved milk tree, turepo

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Relict

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 - At Risk - Relict
2004 - Sparse


2012 - Sp
2009 - Sp


Streblus banksii (Cheeseman) C.Webb



Brief Description

Tree with grey spotted bark bearing dark green elliptical leaves that alternate along a slightly zig-zagged stem inhabiting warm areas, mainly on offshore islands. Leaves 3.5-8.5cm long, paler underneath and vein network is easily visible. Flowers small, in clusters of long spikes. Fruit red, 6mm wide.

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


Paratrophis banksii Cheesem., Streblus heterophyllus var. ellipticus (Kirk) Corner, Paratrophis heterophylla var. elliptica Kirk


Endemic. New Zealand: North and South Islands. In the North Island mainly easterly from about Kaitaia to East Cape, Waikato and northern Hawkes Bay, including islands of the Hauraki Gulf, thence somewhat disjunct reappearing in the Horowhenua to Wellington and the western side of the Wairarapa. Confined to the northern South Island where populations are known from the Marlborough Sounds (mainly islands), Abel Tasman National Park, and also the eastern Golden Bay.


Coastal and lowland forests (0-200 m a.s.l.), preferring deep, fertile soils, large trees are often found on alluvial terraces. On offshore islands it seems more able to tolerate drier conditions and skeletal soils and may at times be found on steep cliff faces, rock ledges, or as stunted shrubs on cobble/boulder beaches.


Dioecious, robust tree or large shrub (depending on growing conditions) up to 12 m tall, usually with a broad canopy crown; trunk up to 0.8 m d.b.h., bark dark brown. Branches ascending at first then widely spreading; branchlets somewhat flexuous, wiry and pliant, initially puberulent and very lenticellate, later glabrate. Leaves of juvenile plants variable 20-60 x 10-30 mm, dark green above, paler beneath, elliptic-oblong , margins finely to deeply crenate, usually deeply lobed, pandurate, sinus obtuse; petioles up to 8 mm long. Leaves of adults 35-85 x 20-35 mm, dark green to yellow green, paler beneath, ovate to broadly ovate, ovate-elliptic, obtuse to subacute, margins crenate (very rarely lobed), petioles stout up to 10 mm long. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, spicate, solitary, paired or in threes; staminate up to 30 mm long, densely flowered, flowers rather densely close-set, almost imbricating, grey-green, perianth 4-partite, segments obtuse to rounded; pistillate similar, up to 25 mm long, flowers widely spaced, distichously arranged. Fruits up to 65 mm diameter, drupaceous, broad-ovoid, fleshy, flesh red.

Similar Taxa

This species can and does hybridise with S. heterophyllus, and some mainland populations can be very hard to place in either species. S. banksii generally differs by its non-filiramulate growth habit, larger leaves and drupes.


August - October

Flower Colours



October - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and can be grown from semi-hardwood cuttings (though success varies). A fast growing tree which makes an ideal specimen tree, and can be used as a hedge as it responds well to clipping. Prefers a deep, free draining, fertile soil. Once established it is very drought tolerant.


It would appear that this species may once have been quite widespread. However, its current distribution is typically sparse and it is rarely common anywhere except on rodent-free offshore islands in the Hauraki Gulf and off the eastern Coromandel Peninsula. In mainland areas and on rodent infested islands plants are damaged by possum and goat browsing, and also by rodents which avidly eat the fruit, seed and emerging seedlings. In remnants being dioecious sex imbalance can be an issue. Successful island rodent eradication's have allowed this species to restablish itself. It certainly responds rapidly to rodent removal.

Chromosome No.

2n = 28

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family





Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange January 2005. Description adapted from Allan (1961).

References and further reading

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

Mitcalfe, B., Horne, C. 2002. Large-leaved milk tree, ewekuri, in the Wellington Region. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin, 48: 41-43 

This page last updated on 12 Dec 2014