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Also known as lancewood, horoeka is the ultimate transformer! The jagged leaves of the juvenile plant may have evolved this way to deter browsing Moa.

Pseudopanax crassifolius
Can grow as high as
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More about this tree

  • As it grows, the horoeka tree transforms through very different leaf shapes and forms. Its first leaves are brown and splotchy, then they develop stiff narrow leaves with jagged edges. After reaching about two metres high, they transform again into a mop of broad green leaves on top of a thin, more sturdy trunk that blends into the forest canopy.
  • One theory for these transformations is that the distinctive jagged leaves of the juvenile plant may have deterred browsing moa.
  • The tough leathery leaves have been used as a substitute for bootlaces, bridles, and paintbrushes.
  • The thin flexible trunks were useful as spears and walking sticks.