seed collecting almanac

Porokaiwhiri Pigeonwood / Hedycarya arborea

In October, almost a year after the flowers on female trees have been pollinated, the clusters of drupes on the porokaiwhiri begin to turn orange. This is the sign that we need to get out and collect the seed.

If it is going to be sown soon and not stored, then green seeds might be just as profitable as the bright orange, ripe ones are. I have often found that seeds from green fruits germinate more quickly than those of ripe fruit.

If on the other hand you are collecting for a seed bank where the seed will be stored in long term cold storage, it is better to wait until the fruit ripens and the seed develops dormancy so that it stores well.

Porokaiwhiri seems to be less well known than it deserves. I know that it is not known as a timber tree and it doesn’t grow tall enough to reach up into the canopy of a forest so it doesn’t feature in the classification of forest. Despite this, porokaiwhiri is a really important part of a restored forest. All of the native bush in this area is regenerating after clearance for farms and timber milling some time in the past.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fhejdpikfjojdjfp-1024x782.jpg

Well established bush has a lot of porokaiwhiri in the understorey. Younger, less established has more mahoe and other quick growing shrubs and small trees. So porokaiwhiri may be slower to establish but more persistent in established forest. This is a trait we are keen to exploit. Once we can get a few established the prolific seeding of porokaiwhiri will mean that the forest floor is carpeted with seedlings, the understorey is on the way to recovery and year-round food supply for native birds is so much more secure.

3 thoughts on Porokaiwhiri Pigeonwood / Hedycarya arborea

  1. A very important food source for kōkako. It is one of the plant species that has to be present in abundance when translocations of kōkako are being considered (for example Pirongia).

  2. Thanks, Wayne, for these very informative posts. About 7 years ago, I planted c.6 porokaiwhiri in my gully. They’re growing well, but no sign of flowering yet. How much longer, do you think ? Can’t wait for those kereru to discover the Hamilton gullies !

  3. Hi Maxine, I’m not sure. The ones I planted ’round here about 20 years ago are seeding quite well with little ones carpeting the ground now. I have one about as tall as me in a big pot and it fruited well last year and this but it may be a bit undernourished, unsure of its future so fruiting now while it has a chance.
    And Selwyn. Pigeonwood seems to be a tree of well established forest, trees like mahoe are more prevalent in younger forest. So I guess as the lower slopes of Pirongia and other areas where kokako are released will have more porokaiwhiri as the forest matures. Pigeonwood fruit at just the right time when little else is producing.

Add Your Comment

* Indicates Required Field

Your email address will not be published.