Corokia cotoneaster, also known as Korokio is endemic to New Zealand. Corokia cotoneaster prefers to survive in areas that are not wet. It will grow and develop in dry, rocky, and dense soils. Therefore, this species is very fertile in dry areas such as lowland shrubland, river-flats and rocky places throughout. Korokio is a dense divaricating and tangled bush. Leaves are silvery grey and variable, depending on altitude and to the degree of exposure to wind.
Korokio can be a food source on the site in terms of fruit trees, flowering, and nurseries. Another advantage of Corokia cotoneaster is to fulfil an important ecological function in providing food, nectar and habitat for native lizards. The thickness of leaf litter is also a factor for lizards who like to eat insects found in the litter. This plant has problems with very few pests and is a good host plant for crickets. These insects lay eggs in the branches of this plant so to do this they cut into the bark. This is not fatal to this plant, so insect control is not needed. The presence of insects will attract birds and lizards even when the plant is not fruiting. Plants produce large numbers of ripe fruit in late fall. Berries are favored by birds. While In addition, yellow flowers (present from September to January) are abundant and help the environment by feeding bees and birds.
As it is a tough plant that attracts birds and lizards, it is suitable for restoration projects. Ideal as part of a dry woodland mix where planting will be in dry shallow soils prone to summer droughts. It is adapted to these harsh conditions. As part of the dry woodland community, it plays an important role in conditioning the soil. The soil conditioning creates a more hospitable environment for less robust species and broadleaf/podocarp forest succession. Other plants in this community include but are not limited to Discaria toumatou, Poa cita, Ozothamnus leptophyllus, Sophora prostrata, Melicytus alpinus and Cordyline australis.
For more information on plant communities, we recommend DOC’s publication Native Plant Communities of the Canterbury Plains.