Story: Shrubs and small trees of the forest

Kōtukutuku – tree fuchsia

Kōtukutuku – tree fuchsia

Kōtukutuku (Fuchsia excorticata) is considered to be the world’s largest fuchsia. In damp forest it can grow to 12 metres tall and form a trunk over 1 metre in diameter. It is one of New Zealand’s few truly deciduous trees, losing its leaves in winter in all but the warmest areas. Attractive, small flowers appear between August and December. They change from greenish-yellow to purple-red.

The flowers are rich in nectar and are visited by honey-eating birds, especially tūī, bellbirds and silvereyes. The dark purple berries, known as kōnini by Māori, are edible and taste like tamarillos.

Possums love tree fuchsia and have eaten it out of many locations.

About this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10057006

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How to cite this page:

Joanna Orwin, 'Shrubs and small trees of the forest - Broadleaf colonisers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/13807/kotukutuku-tree-fuchsia (accessed 29 March 2017)

Story by Joanna Orwin, published 24 Sep 2007, updated 1 Jul 2015