Melicytus ramiflorus



Mahoe is a smaller-sized true that can grow up to 10-15 meters tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 60 cm. The tree has a slender and upright posture, with a smooth grey bark that can become flaky with age. The leaves are glossy, dark green, and ovate, with finely serrated margins.


Mahoe, from sea level to the subalpine zone, is found throughout New Zealand. It grows in various habitats, including forests, scrublands, wetlands, and along riverbanks.

Cultural Importance

Mahoe was an essential plant for Maori, who used the bark to make a yellow dye. Its wood was used for making tools, weapons, and utensils.

Ecological Role

Mahoe provides a habitat for native birds, including tui, bellbirds, and kereru. The fruit is a food source for birds, and the flowers provide nectar for bees and insects.

Associated Birds

Kereru: Also known as kereru, these large and distinctive birds are frequent visitors to Mahoe trees. They feed on the tree's leaves, buds, and fruits, aiding in seed dispersal.

Long-tailed cuckoo: These migratory cuckoos arrive in New Zealand during the spring breeding season. They are known to lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, and Mahoe trees can provide suitable habitat for their host species.

North Island robin: The North Island robin is a small insectivorous bird known for its friendly and inquisitive behaviour. It often forages in the understory of forests, including Mahoe-dominated areas.

South Island fernbird: These secretive and elusive birds are known to inhabit wetland areas where Mahoe trees can be found. They use the dense foliage for cover and feed on insects and spiders.

Stitchbird: Also known as hihi, stitchbirds are an endangered species that were once found throughout New Zealand but are now restricted to a few locations. They are known to feed on the nectar of Mahoe flowers and play a crucial role in pollination.

Bellbird: The Bellbird, or Korimako, is a medium-sized songbird with a melodious and bell-like call. They are attracted to the nectar-rich flowers of Karamu trees and also consume berries and insects.

Silvereye: The Silvereye, or Piwaiwaka, is a small passerine bird that frequents Karamu trees. They feed on the berries and insects found in the tree's foliage, contributing to the pollination of Karamu flowers.

Fantail: The Fantail, or Pīwakawaka, is an agile bird known for its distinctive fan-shaped tail and acrobatic flight. They can often be spotted in Karamu trees, where they hunt insects by fluttering and flicking their tail.

Grey Warbler: The Grey Warbler, or Riroriro, is a tiny bird with a melodious song. They are commonly found in Karamu forests, foraging for insects among the tree's foliage and building their delicate nests on its branches.

Tui: Tui birds are attracted to Karamu trees for their nectar-rich flowers. They have a beautiful plumage and a unique song, often engaging in impressive aerial displays while feeding on the Karamu tree's nectar.

Conservation status

Mahoe is not currently listed as a threatened species.

Interesting Facts

  • Mahoe is known for its tough and flexible wood, which was used by early settlers to make coachwhips and fishing rods.
  • The fruit of Mahoe is edible and can be used to make sweet and sour jelly.
  • Mahoe has a long flowering season, from September to April, with small, inconspicuous white flowers.

Conservation Tips

There are no specific conservation tips for Mahoe, but it is important to protect and conserve its habitat and other native trees and plants in New Zealand.