Litsea calicaris

Common Name(s)

Mangeao, tangeao

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


Litsea calicaris (A.Cunn.) Benth. et Hook.f. ex Kirk



Brief Description

Small bushy tree bearing glossy green thin undulating oval leaves and dark purple fruit inhabiting the upper North Island. Leaves 5-12.5cm long by 3-5cm wide, taper to both the tip and base, leaf stalk dark. Flowers yellowish, in clusters. Fruit 15-20mm 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


Tetranthera calicaris Hook.f.


Endemic. Three Kings and North Islands. Common to about Mokau in the west and the Rotorua lakes area and Mahia Peninsula in the east


Coastal lowland and lower montane forest. Mangeao is usually a fairly localised tree over much of its range but in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, particularly on the deep so called "ash" soils and on the limestones in the western Waikato it can be the dominant canopy tree. Although mangaeo seems to like high rainfall it is (or was) also an important tree on the lava fields of Auckland, and it is one of the few tree species to grow on the ultramafic rocks of North Cape.


Stout, spreading tree up to 18 m tall; trunk up to 0.80 m dbh; usually solitary, rarely branched from base, often sporting numerous suckers and epicormic growth; bark dark grey to grey-brown, firm (not flaking). Branches stout, initially upright and then shortly to widely spreading, branchlets numerous, sapringly lenticillate, glabrous. Leaves alternate, subcoriaceous, glabrous, adaxially glossy dark green, yellow-green or green suffused with red, sometimes mottled or spotted with dark red or purple (emergent leaves often glaucescent or deeply tinged wine-red), abaxially glaucous or tinged wine-red; midrib raised on both surfaces, veination distinct when fresh or dried; petioles 15-30 mm long, somewhat wiry, dark green red or maroon-black; lamina 50-130 × 30-60 mm, ovate, oval, ovate-elliptic, apex obtuse to subacute, base broadly cuneate. Inflorescence an axillary, racemosely arranged, 4-5-flowered, open or rather congested, involucrate, umbel; peduncle 10-40 mm long, rigidly wiry, pedicels sparsely, minutely, pubescent. Involucrum comprising 4, 5-10 mm long, broadly oblong to oblong-elliptic, glabrous, somewhat fleshy, ± caducous pale green, cream (often red-tinged) scales. Flower perianth segments 4-6(-8), 4-5 mm long, cream, white, pale yellow or greenish,oblong to ovate. Stamens 10-12(-18); filaments slender, 0.8-2.6 mm long, white or pinkish white, biglandular; staminodes flattened, biglandular; stigma dilated,irregularly 3-lobed. Drupe 15-22 mm long, 1-seeded, subovoid to ovoid, seated in enlarged perianth tube; mesocarp purple-black. Endocarp membranous, 10-13 mm long, dark brown. Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Webb & Simpson (2001).

Similar Taxa



September - November

Flower Colours



September - March

Propagation Technique

Although easily grown from seed mangeao is often fickle and hard to maintain. In nursery conditions seedlings and saplings can be difficult to maintain. Even apparently well established trees will in cultivation inexplicably die. It for this reason that mangaeo is rarely available from nurseries.


Not Threatened. Mangaeo while certainly not threatened at a national level is experiencing a decline over some parts of its range. While possum browse is a factor in some areas, die back of apparently healthy trees in areas where possums are controlled or scarce is of some concern. From time to time "mangaeo die back" is reported in the media - the cause of this "die back" warrants further study.

Chromosome No.

2n = 24

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 10 February 2011. Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Webb & Simpson (2001).

References and further reading

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

Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.

This page last updated on 6 Dec 2014