Scientific Name:
Ripogonum scandens J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. (1776)
  • = Smilax ripogonum G.Forst., Fl. Ins. Austr. (1786)
  • = Ripogonum parviflorum R.Br., Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holland. 293 (1810) nom. illeg.
Vernacular Name(s):
Akapirita; Kakareao; Kakarewao; kareao; Karewao; Kekereao; Pirita; Supplejack; Taiore

Woody, evergreen liane of twining habit. Horizontal rhizome stout, often swollen into a woody tuber at base of erect stem. Stems of two kinds: (a) twining stems growing upward from mature rhizome on forest floor, without green lvs, succulent at tip; these are several m. long, c. 1.5–2 cm. diam., little branched, almost black, finely pubescent; nodes c. 10–20 cm. apart, thickened; sheathing scale leaves to several cm. long, alt. or opp., almost black, membr., brown-scabrid, caducous. (b) non-twining stems arising from the long stems in full light; these are to 1 m. long, c. 5 mm. diam., more branched and wide-spreading, light brown, glab.; internodes shorter, the distal ones bearing green lvs and infls. Green lvs mostly opp., 5.5–16 × 2–6 cm., ± coriac., narrow-ovate to oblong, narrowed rather abruptly to tip, margins entire and ± undulate; petiole c. 1 cm. long, ± channelled. Infl. axillary or terminal, simple or compound, to 15 cm. long; bracts us. all small and membr., but occ. some foliaceous. Pedicels c. 5–9 mm. long, without bracteole at base but with one or more adjacent to and resembling per.-segs. Fls not crowded. Tepals minute, free, spreading. Stamens much > tepals; filaments c. 2 mm. long; anthers greenish, linear-oblong, c. 3–5 × 1–1.5 mm., dehiscing laterally by long slits. Ovary globose, c. 1.5 mm. diam.; ovules 2 per locule, attached about mid-level; style 2 mm. long, including stigma of 3 verrucose lobes. Fr. globose, bright red, c. 1 cm. diam., the thin fleshy pericarp tightly stretched over 1–2–(3) hard, spotted seeds, seed when single almost spherical. Fr. falling, 12–15 months after fl., by abscission layer just above per. 2n = 30.

[From:  Moore and Edgar (1970) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 2.]

Indigenous (Endemic)

Flowering: Dec.–Jan.; Fruiting: Jan.–Dec.

Brown, R. 1810: Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae et Insulae Van-Diemen. Johnson, London.
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]
Forster, J.G.A. 1786: Florulae Insularum Australium Prodromus. Dietrich, Göttingen.