Tītoki is a small to medium-sized tree that grows up to 15-20 meters tall. It has a dense, spreading canopy and a straight trunk. The leaves are dark green and glossy, and the tree produces clusters of small, creamy-white flowers in summer, followed by bright red fruit in autumn.
Tītoki is found throughout New Zealand, particularly in lowland forests, but it can also be found in coastal areas and wetlands.
Tītoki has a significant cultural value to Māori, who use its wood to make traditional carvings and weaving tools. The leaves and bark are also used for medicinal purposes.
Tītoki provides a habitat for a range of native birds and insects, and its red fruit is an important food source for birds such as tui and bellbird. It is also an important component of New Zealand's lowland forests, providing structure and stability to these ecosystems.
Kākāriki: Colourful parakeets that inhabit Tītoki forests. They have green feathers and can be seen foraging for seeds, fruits, and insects.
Kingfisher: Small bird with vibrant blue and orange plumage. Known to frequent Tītoki areas, where it hunts for small fish, insects, and crustaceans near water bodies.
Grey Warbler: Tiny bird with a melodious song, often found in Tītoki forests. It forages for insects among the foliage and builds its delicate nest on the branches.
Shining Cuckoo: Migratory bird that arrives in New Zealand during the spring season, coinciding with the flowering of Tītoki trees. It primarily feeds on insects and nectar.
Fantail: Agile bird known for its fan-shaped tail and acrobatic flight. Often spotted in Tītoki forests, where it hunts insects by fluttering and flicking its tail.
Bellbird: Medium-sized songbird attracted to the nectar-rich flowers of Tītoki trees. Its beautiful song resonates through the forest as it also feeds on insects and fruits.
Tūī: Medium-sized honeyeaters with distinctive white throat tufts. They visit Tītoki trees for their nectar and play a crucial role in pollination.
Silvereye: Small passerine bird that frequents Tītoki forests. It feeds on insects, fruits, and nectar, contributing to the pollination of Tītoki flowers.
Stitchbird: Endangered bird species known for its vibrant plumage and unique bill. Tītoki trees provide them with nectar and fruits, supporting their survival.
Tītoki is not currently classified as threatened, but like many New Zealand native trees, it faces threats from introduced pests and habitat loss.
Conservation of the Tītoki includes supporting efforts to protect and restore its important habitat. This includes controlling introduced pests such as possums, rats and stoats and planting Tītoki in suitable areas to help increase its population.