VI. Other Rainforest Hardwoods

The toro, tawheowheo and hinau are three common trees in west coast rainforests in New Zealand.

Quintinia serrata (Tawheowheo) on the Hydro walk, Golden Bay.
Quintinia serrata (Tawheowheo) on the Hydro walk, Golden Bay.

Tawheowheo - Quintinia serrata

Quintinia serrata (Tawheowheo)


Quintinia is an extremely variable plant. Some scientists consider it to be three separate species, calling two of its forms Quintinia acutifolia and Q. elliptica.

Tawheowheo occurs in two distinct regions of New Zealand: it grows in lowland and mountain forests in the northern half of North Island, is absent from the southern North Island, then reappears in the west of the South Island as far south as Fox Glacier.

Tawheowheo grows to about 12 metres in height and has mottled, narrow leaves with wavy edges. It produces 5–10-centimetre spikes of tiny cream flowers in spring, and dry brown seed capsules in mid-summer (see Terrain).

Quintinia serrata (Tawheowheo) (Terrain)
Quintinia serrata (Tawheowheo) (Terrain)

Toro - Myrsine salicina


It is a small upright tree growing to around 8 metres in height and bears thick, leathery, long, narrow, smooth leaves that are erect and reddish-yellow when young. The trunk has thick, furrowed bark.

The leaves are 7-18cm long by 2-3cm wide, with a smooth edge and the leaves surface is covered with very small glands.

In spring clusters of small cream to pale pink coloured flowers (3 - 5 mm across) are produced along the branches. These are followed by single seeded, red-to purple 8-9mm long fruits.

Myrsine salicina is threatened in areas where the introduced possum occurs, as it is one of their preferred foods. (Terrain)

Toro - Myrsine salicina (Courtesy Terrain)
Toro - Myrsine salicina (Courtesy Terrain)

Hinau - Elaeocarpus dentatus


A member of the Elaeocarpaceae family, it is found on both the North and South Island's of New Zealand, but not on Stewart Island. The leaves are dark green, with a toothed edge. On the underside of the leaf small pits are present.Clusters of small white flowers are produced in spring, and in late summer the flowers form into a fleshy fruit (Wikipedia).


Grows up to 20m. Harsh thin leaves. Coastal and lowland.

Hinau - Elaeocarpus dentatus (Courtesy Rudolph89 WikiCommons)
Hinau - Elaeocarpus dentatus - foliage (Courtesy Rudolph89 WikiCommons)