Makomako is a small and fast-growing shrub. Named by Māori for its appearance and Europeans for its preferred use, this delicate tree is pleasing to all.
The soft, heart-shaped leaves of makomako, light green on top and tinged red underneath, are edged with sharp serrations, just like the teeth of its namesake, the mako shark.
Bursts of spring-time flowers smother the trees in a white cloud, each tiny bloom developing a pinky-claret flush.
Unusually, male and female flowers grow on separate plants, and both are needed for the rich wine-coloured fruit, a favourite of tūī and kereru, to form.
Don’t let makomako be overshadowed by its bolder brasher neighbours – look out for its pale beauty on forest edges.