Scientific Name:
Beilschmiedia tawa (A.Cunn.) Benth. & Hook.f. ex Kirk in Kirk, Forest. Fl. New Zealand 257 (1889)
  • Laurus tawa A.Cunn., Ann. Nat. Hist. 1: 379 (1838)
  • Nesodaphne tawa (A.Cunn.) Hook.f., Bot. Antarct. Voy. II. (Fl. Nov.-Zel.) Part I, 217 (1853)
  • = Laurus victoriana Colenso in , London Journal of Botany 301 (1842) nom. nud.
  • = Beilschmiedia tawaroa A.E.Wright, New Zealand J. Bot. 22: 119-123 (1984)
The epithet tawa is the Maori name for the plant.
Vernacular Name(s):
Tawa; Tawa rautangi

Evergreen tree to 35 m tall; trunk to 1.2 m diam. with buttressed roots when mature; wood white to creamy brown, straight grained; bark smooth, dark brown, often obscured by lighter coloured lichen growth; branching monopodial to give a deep crown of slender to moderately robust branches; branchlets, young leaves, petioles and inflorescence branchlets at first finely pubescent, later ± glabrous; hairs pale golden, simple; leaves opposite to sub-opposite, simple, thinly coriaceous, on petioles (6-)8(-10) mm long; midrib slender to moderate, straight, prominent below; leaf laminae narrow-elliptic, occasionally lanceolate, (31—)43— 73(-86) × (8-)ll-16(-20)mm, yellow-green and glabrous above, glaucous with scattered pale golden hairs below, margins entire and undulate, apex acute to acuminate to shortly caudate, venation reticulodromous; inflorescence an erect, axillary panicle to 100 mm long, lax and pedunculate, bracts narrow-lanceolate and caducous, each flower subtended by 1 or more minute bracteoles; flowers perfect, on pedicels 3-5 mm long, 2-3 mm diam., pale green, perianth of 6 segments, ovate to oblong, stamens 12 (arranged as for genus), ovary unilocular and superior; drupes pendulous, ellipsoid to ovoid, (23-)28(-33) × (9-)12(-15) mm, 1-seeded, pericarp fleshy, ripening through red to dark purple or almost black, glaucous or shiny.

[Reproduced from Wright (1984, New Zealand J. Bot. 22: 109-125) with permission from The Royal Society of New Zealand.]

Indigenous (Endemic)

Flowering: Sep.–Dec.; Fruiting: Oct.–Feb.

Cunningham, A. 1838: Florae insularum Novae Zelandiae precursor; or a specimen of the botany of the islands of New Zealand. Annals of Natural History 1: 376–381.
de Lange, P.J.; Cameron, E.K. 1999: The vascular flora of Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands, northern New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 37: 433–468.
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Barkla J.W.; Courtney, S.P.; Champion, P.D.; Perrie, L.R.; Beadel, S.N.; Ford, K.A.; Breitwieser, I.; Schönberger, I.; Hindmarsh-Walls, R.; Heenan, P.B.; Ladley, K. 2018: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series. No. 22. [Not Threatened]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington. [Not Threatened]
Hooker, J.D. 1852–1853 ("1853"): The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ships Erebus and Terror in the Years 1839–1843, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross. II. Flora Novae-Zelandiae. Part I. Flowering plants. Lovell Reeve, London.
Kirk, T. 1889: The forest flora of New Zealand. Wellington, N.Z.
London Journal of Botany
Wright, A.E. 1984: Beilschmiedia Nees (Lauraceae) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 22: 109–125.