Tawāpou Planchonella costata

Key Features

  • Small, closely-branched tree of coastal forest.
  • Yellow-green to dark green, leathery leaves that are paler underneath and with straight veins radiating from central vein more visible on the upper surface.
  • Branchlets hairy.
  • Flowers tiny. Fruit 2.5-4 cm long, red ripening to almost black, enclosing 2-4 hard narrow shiny seeds.

Distribution and Habitat

  • In New Zealand, found only in North Island from Te Paki south to the Manukau and Coromandel Peninsula, after which it occurs in scattered sites as far south as East Cape in the east and Kawhia Harbour in the west.
  • Strictly coastal, where it is usually a minor component of coastal forest.


  • Clearing of coastal and lowland forest.

Management Opportunities

  • Survey for new locations.
  • Mark known sites.
  • Protect habitat.
  • Collect seed, propagate, and reintroduce to appropriate sites.
  • Ensure that forest owners are aware of potential habitats and can recognise the species.

Monitoring Options

  • Check existing populations annually.

Further Information and Support

  • Weed and pest control - Department of Conservation, Regional Councils.


  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN). http://www.nzpcn.org.nz
  • Poole & Adams (1994). Trees and shrubs of New Zealand. Maanaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.