Pittosporum eugenioides



Tarata is a smaller-sized native tree that grows up to 10 metres tall. The trunk is narrow and has a dense bracket crown. The leaves are glossy, dark and leathery with a light green midrib. The tree produces small, white flowers in spring, followed by small red berries that attract various birds in summer. 


Tarata, from sea to subalpine zones, is found throughout New Zealand. It grows in a wide variety of habits such as forests, shrubland and coastal areas. 

Cultural Importance

Tarata is an important tree used for medicinal purposes in Maori culture. The bark and leaves were used to treat various ailments, including stomach irritations, coughs, and colds. The tree’s wood was also used for making tools and utensils.

Ecological Role

Tarata is an important tree providing bird habitat and food. Various bird species eat small, red berries, including tui, bellbird, and kereru. The tree also provides shelter for insects and other small animals.

Associated Birds

Kererū: Large, distinctive pigeon species known for its iridescent feathers and loud wingbeats. They feed on the fruits of Tarata/Lemonwood trees, playing a crucial role in seed dispersal.

Silvereye: Small passerine bird with a pale eye ring. They are known to visit Tarata/Lemonwood trees for their flowers, fruits, and insects, contributing to pollination and seed dispersal.

Grey Warbler: Tiny bird with a melodious song. They forage for insects among the foliage of Tarata/Lemonwood trees and may build their nests nearby.

Tūī: Medium-sized honeyeaters with distinctive white throat tufts. They are attracted to the nectar-rich flowers of Tarata/Lemonwood trees, playing a role in pollination and feeding on insects and fruits.

Fantail: Agile bird known for its fan-shaped tail and acrobatic flight. They are often seen in Tarata/Lemonwood areas, where they hunt insects by fluttering and flicking their tail.

Bellbird: Medium-sized songbird with a distinctive bell-like call. They are attracted to the nectar-rich flowers of Tarata/Lemonwood trees, feeding on nectar, insects, and fruits.

Conservation status

Tarata is not currently listed as a threatened species in New Zealand.

Interesting Facts

  • Tarata is also known as lemonwood due to the citrus-like scent of the leaves when crushed.
  • The wood of Tarata is hard and durable and was once used for making fence posts and tool handles.
  • Tarata is often used in landscaping and is popular as a hedge plant due to its dense growth habit.

Conservation Tips

Tarata is not currently listed as a threatened species, so there are no specific conservation tips for this tree. However, it is important to avoid introducing pests and diseases to the areas where Tarata grows to ensure its continued health and survival.