Pennantia corymbosa | Kaikōmako

Drainage:DampWell Drained
Height Range:8
Site Conditions:Frost TolerantHeavy SoilLoamy SoilWindy
Spread Range:6
Sunlight:Full ShadeFull SunPartial Shade
Features:Attractive FlowersAttractive foliageAttractive to beesAttractive to BirdsAttractive to insectsEvergreenSuitable for Revegetation SpeciesSuitable for ShelterTolerant of Shade
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Pennantia corymbosa is also called Kaikōmako or Duck’s Foot after the shape of the juvenile leaf. The Māori name kaikōmako means food (kai) of the bellbird (kōmako). They are a favourite food of the Bellbird/ Korimako. From November to February Kaikōmako produces panicles of small creamy-white heavily scented flowers. The small fleshy single-seeded drupes on female trees ripen to glossy black from January to May and attract bellbirds to feast.

Pennantia corymbosa  is a dense tangled endemic shrub with zig-zagging branches bearing small leaves with 3-4 large lobes at the tip. When growing in the open, Kaikōmako will reach 2-3m before making an abrupt change to adult form. Grows into a small tree bearing much larger leaves that still have small lobes at the tip. Many trees have juvenile leaves lower down and adult leaves above. Juvenile leaves are 7-15mm long, adult leaves are 5cm long by 3cm wide. Kaikōmako is an upright evergreen forest tree that grows to 8m within 10 years and up to 12m. With age, the branches become straightened and a single bole develops, topped by a dense crown of attractive thick leathery dark green leaves.

Kaikōmako is found in the wild throughout the North, South and Stewart Islands with the greatest concentration in lowland and coastal forests. Prefers moist soil in forest margins. Very hardy and shade tolerant, evergreen, dioecious.

For more photos please visit the Phil Bendle Collection.

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