Lophomyrtus obcordata | Rōhutu

Drainage:DampVery DryWell Drained
Height Range:4
Site Conditions:Loamy SoilWindy
Spread Range:2
Sunlight:Full SunPartial Shade
Features:Attractive FlowersAttractive foliageAttractive to beesAttractive to BirdsAttractive to insectsEvergreenSuitable for Hedging


Lophomyrtus obcordata is a shrub or small tree eore common in the eastern North and South Island. Mostly found in coastal and lowland forested habitats and occasionally dominant in alluvial forest remnants of the eastern South Island. Often found in plant communities of mixed podocarp forests alongside other tall trees such as Hoheria angustifolia, Leptospermum scoparium, Pittosporum tenuifolium, and Psuedopanax crassifolius.

Lophomyrtus obcordata is a bushy shrub with flaky bark bearing small thick heart-shaped leaves. The contrasting veins of the leaves give the foliage an interesting look to give texture to a garden. Flowering from November to March, the small contrasting white petals give seasonal interest. Flowers are followed by red to black fruit from January through May. Fruit attracts birds.

As a landscaping option, Lophomyrtus obcordata is well-suited to hedging or a screening plant. The dense small foliage and naturally upright form provide privacy. The hedge can be trimmed to shape or can be left to a more natural look. Its one downfall in a hedge is the possible infection of Myrtle Rust and how quickly it would spread in a hedge. As of 2023, this is not a major issue in Canterbury due to our cold winters. But there have been instances where Myrtle Rust has been discovered in the Christchurch area. This may become a more frequent possibility as our climate changes.

For more information on plant communities, we recommend DOC’s publication Native Plant Communities of the Canterbury Plains.


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