Manual of the New Zealand Flora/Olacineæ

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Trees or shrubs, sometimes climbing. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite, simple or lobed, exstipulate. Flowers regular, hermaphrodite or unisexual, usually cymose. Calyx 4–5-toothed or -lobed, free or adnate to the disc. Petals usually 4–5, free or more or less connate into a tube, valvate or rarely imbricate. Stamens as many or twice as many as the petals, free or adnate to them; anthers 2-celled. Disc hypogynous, usually cup-shaped, free or adnate to the ovary or calyx. Ovary free or partly immersed in the disc, 1-celled or imperfectly 2–5-celled; style simple; stigma entire or lobed; ovules 2–3, rarely 1, pendulous from the apex of a central placenta or from the side or apex of the cavity. Fruit usually drupaceous, 1-celled, 1-seeded; albumen fleshy, rarely wanting; embryo minute, radicle superior.

Genera about 40; species not far from 200; widely spread in tropical and subtropical regions, many of them very imperfectly known. The single New Zealand genus extends through Norfolk Island to Australia.

1. PENNANTIA, Forst.

Shrubs or trees. Leaves entire or toothed. Flowers in terminal corymbose panicles or cymes, diœcious or polygamous. Calyx minute, 5-toothed. Petals, 5, hypogynous, glabrous, valvate. Stamens 5, hypogynous, alternating with the petals; filaments filiform. Ovary 1-celled; stigma nearly sessile, entire or 3-lobed; ovule solitary, pendulous. Drupe small, fleshy; stone obtusely trigonous, grooved at the back to receive a flattened cord which passes through a perforation just below the apex, and bears the pendulous seed at its tip.

Besides the New Zealand species, which is endemic, there is one in Norfolk Island, and another in New South Wales.

1. P. corymbosa, Forst. Char. Gen. 134.—A small slender tree 15–35 ft. high; branchlets, petioles, and inflorescence pubescent. Young stage a straggling bush with numerous spreading flexuous and interlaced slender branches; leaves distant, alternate or fascicled, cuneate, ¼–½ in. long or more, 3-lobed or 3–6-toothed at the tip. Leaves of mature plants shortly petioled, alternate, 1–4 in. long, obovate oblong-ovate or oblong, obtuse, sinuate or irregularly toothed or lobed, rarely entire. Flowers small, white, fragrant, diœcious. Males: Panicles and flowers larger than in the females. Filaments exceeding the petals; anthers large, oblong-sagittate, versatile, pendulous. Ovary rudimentary. Females: Filaments shorter than the petals; anthers erect. Ovary oblong; stigma 3-lobed. Drupe black, fleshy, about ⅓ in. long.—A. Rich. Fl. Nouv. Zel. 368; A. Cunn. Precur. n. 576; Raoul, Choix, 50; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 35, t. 12; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 41; Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 77, 78; Students' Fl. 88.

North and South Islands: From Kaitaia southwards, but local to the north of the Waikato River. Ascends to 2000 ft. Kaikomako. November–December.

Wood formerly used by the Maoris to obtain fire by friction; now occasionally employed for turnery, furniture, &c.