Prumnopitys taxifolia | Mataī

Drainage:DampVery DryWell Drained
Height Range:25
Site Conditions:ExposedFrost TolerantHeavy SoilLoamy SoilSandy SoilWindy
Sunlight:Full Sun
Features:Attractive FlowersAttractive foliageAttractive to BirdsAttractive to insectsEvergreenSuitable for Revegetation SpeciesSuitable for Shelter


Prumnopitys taxifolia is a Classic NZ Native. Also known as Mataī or Black Pine.  Endemic and widely distributed in lowland forests. Uncommon on Stewart Island. Often found in drier climates, where it can dominate alluvial soils which are waterlogged or flooded in winter and dry in summer. Seems to prefer base-rich substrates and soils. Mataī are ideal for revegetation projects. Their versatility and longevity are what a revegetation project should include. These are not garden trees. They grow up to 40m tall. However, they are wonderful bird attractors. Mataī’s purple berries attract Kererū.

The fruit that Kererū eat is a fleshy, oily, aromatic drupe. The stone is about 3/4 of the sweet fruit.

The juvenile is a shrub with a tangle of slender, flexible, divaricating branchlets interspersed with a scattering of brown, pale yellow, or dirty white leaves. After a number of years, the adult Prumnopitys taxifolia begins to grow out of the top of the juvenile shrub. The divaricating branchlets will wither and drop off.

Used extensively in New Zealand for timber flooring during the mid-20th century. Mataī is not threatened, although as a forest type it has been greatly reduced through widespread logging. Very few intact examples of mataī-dominated forests remain.

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