Common name and scientific name: Ngaio, Myoporum laetum
Origin and natural range: The Ngaio is a small to medium-sized tree native to New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.
Altitude range: The Ngaio can grow from sea level to an altitude of 600m
Physical characteristics: The Ngaio tree is an evergreen, small to medium-sized tree that grows to a height of up to 15 meters. The leaves are glossy, dark green, and oval-shaped. The tree produces small, white, star-shaped flowers that bloom in spring and summer.
Growth rate and lifespan: The Ngaio tree has a moderate growth rate and can live up to 100 years.
Growing conditions: The Ngaio tree prefers well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade. It is frost hardy and can tolerate coastal exposure. The roots of this species are relatively shallow and can spread out widely, rather than growing deep into the soil. They typically grow to a depth of around 30-60 cm (1-2 ft), but can spread out as far as the canopy of the tree.
Flowering and fruiting: The Ngaio tree flowers in spring and summer, and produces small, round, purple-black berries in fall and winter.
Uses and benefits: The Ngaio tree is an ornamental tree, it is also used for hedging and it is an attractive tree for wildlife. The Ngaio tree is also used for erosion control and for reforestation projects. However, it is toxic to livestock if consumed in large quantities, so it is important to be aware of this when planting in areas where livestock graze.
Toxicity: The oil in the leaves can cause sickness and/or death in livestock including horses, cattle, sheep and pigs causing liver damage.
Planting Instructions: Plant after the last frost!