Green Pepper Tree!
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Kawakawa, Pepper Tree –Macropiper excelsum |
Maori: Kawakawa. Cah-wah-car-wah (quickly!)
I really love this New Zealand native tree. Its heart-shaped leaves are always so attractive and there always seems to be new leaves growing and also, now it is springtime, flowering spikes are beginning to appear. Kawakawa grows in many of our native bush areas. This one was growing along the cliff top between Murrays and Rothesay Bays.
The Kawakawa is a shrub or small tree that grows up to 2-3m. It has large flat dark green to almost yellow-green, heart shaped aromatic leaves 5-10cms in diameter. The brown, jointed branches resemble slender bamboo stalks.
Fruits are elongated, conical, fleshy and orange when ripe. They are edible with the small seeds hot to taste. Early settlers described it as an "excellent preserve, and if "gathered green it is equally good pickled". And I have just learnt that the spikes are different on the male and female plants.
Common throughout the North & the top half of the South Island from sea level to 600m. Found along coastal cliffs, sand dunes and lowland forests, Kawakawa prefers a cool, moist but free-draining soil. It grows best in a semi-shady and sheltered position. Suitable as a tub specimen, it requires a rich soil with available iron for healthiest growth.
Kawakawa is a relative of both the Asian plant producing 'black peppercorns' and the Polynesian species from which Kava is made. The New Zealand species has traditionally been used as a medicine to treat a wide range of illnesses. Perhaps it is most effective as a tonic, when the leaves are made into a tea by being steeped in hot water. Maori custom is to wear leafy twigs of Kawakawa at a tangi, chew the leaves to reduce toothache and place leaves on a fire to create an insect repellent.
So, there you are. You now know what to do when you get a toothache – chew some of the leaves. And if you feel like a cuppa tea, pick some leaves and place in boiling water. I must give it a try one day!
sway, dew77, gantzt, red45, wallhalla15, Comandante, Gudule, Luc has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
- [2005-09-28 3:34]
A very interesting note, thanks.
I like the DOF you have used. It draws my eye into the young center leaf.
- [2005-09-28 4:13]
I hope you never get toothache;).An artistic capture from you again.Lighting,POV,DOF,details,your note and composition are excellent.TFS...:-)
I like that you focused the whole frame on the one type of plant so that we can appreciate it's lines and texttures and colors. Good DOF as well.
- [2005-09-28 7:42]
Simply things are most beautifull. Lovely photo Janice. Something as common as leaves you turned into art. Saturated greens, detailed surfaces and refreshing composition. Great picture and note. By the way - I love all kinds of pepper ;-)
Very interesting plant, Janice. Colorful photo, great sharpness and details. Your composition and note are excellent. Well done.
- [2005-09-28 10:48]
Janice, I do enjoy the green shades. The dark bg highlights them.
Anything can be a great subject to photography; your shot shows that.
Great mood, texture; great idea.
Very nice composition.Lighting,POV,framing and clear details are perfect.Thanks for sharing.
- [2005-09-29 11:46]
Very Artistic! Yes, artistic photo. I add ** for Light, Colors, Contrast,Presentation.
Congratulations, Janice. Will join my fovorites. TFS.
- [2005-09-30 20:07]
So, that is pepper tree.
Personal assessment of the photo: very good.
Strong visual impact.
Aptness of the photo for the site: excellent.
Personal assessment of the note: very interesting.
Thank you Janice.