Large-leaved milk tree, turepo
Paratrophis banksii Cheesem., Streblus heterophyllus var. ellipticus (Kirk) Corner, Paratrophis heterophylla var. elliptica Kirk
Vascular – Native
Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs
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.
2n = 28
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley.
2012 | At Risk – Relict | Qualifiers: Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | At Risk – Relict | Qualifiers: Sp
2004 | Sparse
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.
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.
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
October - April
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.
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.
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.
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Streblus banksii Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/streblus-banksii/ (Date website was queried)