November 22, 2017

Who Needs a Buddy?

Plants from Middle Earth

Garden Maine’s New Zealand Extravaganza – Celebrating a Completely Unexpected Journey

Anna Paton Photo | Griselinia lucida - Puka in Maori

Anna Paton Photo | Griselinia lucida – Puka in Maori

Anna Paton Photo | Griselinia lucida - Puka in Maori

Anna Paton Photo | Griselinia lucida – Puka in Maori

With its glossy, bright green leaves, Griselinia lucida is an impressive shrub, growing up to more than 15  feet tall. Called puka in Maori, this evergreen is best known as an epiphyte, a plant that grows by relying on another plant in a non-parasitic way. For the puka, this means it can start life high in the tops of the rain forest canopy before growing its own roots down the length of the host tree. However, this New Zealand native also can be grown like a regular shrub since some plants can be found without a host growing on rocky shores. Puka also blossoms, with male and female flowers on separate trees. In the autumn, the the fruit ripens into a deep purple.

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Photographs kindly provided by Anna Paton of Auckland, New Zealand, at Auckland Botanic Gardens in November 2012. For a brief interview with Anna, click to read here.

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“New Zealand’s flora is described as being unique due to our long isolation many thousands of years ago. We have some 2,357 different plant species and approximately 80% of them are endemic, meaning they don’t occur anywhere else in the world.”

– From the Auckland Botanic Gardens website

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How did all this come about? You can read about how Janine Pineo of Garden Maine found Anna Paton, more than 9,000 miles away, as the crow flies. If a crow could fly 9,000 miles like that. Click here for that story.