Manual of the New Zealand Flora.
1 Paratrophis, Blume
1 Paratrophis, Blume.
Trees with milky juice. Leaves alternate, shortly petiolate, crenate or almost entire, pennmerved; stipules small, lateral, caducous. Flowers diœcious, in axillary or rarely terminal soli-page 632tary or geminate spikes. Male flowers: Numerous, usually closely placed. Perianth small, 4-partite; segments broad, obtuse, concave, imbricate. Stamens 4; filaments inflexed in bud; anthers didymous, 2-celled. Rudimentary ovary turbinate. Female flowers: Few and lax, or numerous and dense. Perianth very small, 4-partite; segments unequal, closely imbricate. Ovary straight, sessile, exserted, 1-celled; style deeply 2-partite; ovule solitary, pendulous. Fruit drupaceous, seated on the slightly enlarged persistent perianth, globose or ovoid, tipped by the short style; exocarp thin, fleshy; endocarp crustaceous. Seed subglobose: albumen scanty; cotyledons broad, foliaceous, conduplicate.
A small genus of 6 species, 3 of which are found in New Zealand, 2 in the Pacific islands, and 1 in the Philippines.
Leaves ⅓–1½ in. Female spikes ¼–½ in., 3–8-flowered. Drupes 1–3 ripening on each spike, ⅙ in. diam. 1. P. heterophylla. Leaves 1½–3½ in. Female spikes ½–1 in., 8–25-flowered. Drupes usually many ripening on each spike, ¼ in. diam. 2. P. Banksii. Leaves 4–8 in., entire. Female spikes 2–4 in., many-flowered; flowers in 2 rows on each side of the rhachis. Drupe ⅓ in. diam 3. P. Smithii.
P. heterophylla, Bl. Mus. Bot. Lugd. Bat. ii. 81.—A tree 15–40 ft. high, with a trunk 9–24 in. diam.; bark grey or almost white, rough with raised lenticels; branches numerous, crowded, glabrous or pubescent; those of young plants long and slender, flexuous, often interlaced, pubescent or setose at the tips, bark dark-brown. Leaves of young plants remote, ⅓–¾ in. long, broadly obovate to oblong-obovate, acute or obtuse, cuneate at the base, rather membranous, glabrous or pubescent, serrate, often irregularly lobed or almost pinnatifid; of mature trees ⅓–1½ in. long, oblong-ovate or oblong-obovate to elliptic, obtuse or acute, crenate or crenate-dentate, coriaceous, dark-green, prominently reticulate. Male spikes ⅓–1 in. long, shortly pedunculate, cylindric. Flowers closely packed, minute, sessile, intermixed with peltate scales. Perianth-segments rounded, margins ciliate. Stamens exserted. Female spikes ¼–½ in. long, 3–8-flowered. Flowers lax, very minute, intermixed with peltate scales. Perianth-segments appressed to the ovary, the 2 outer rather smaller. Drupe globose, small, red, ⅙ in. diam., usually 1 and seldom as many as 3 ripening on each spike.—Epicarpurus microphyllus, Raoul, Choix, 14, t. 9; Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Fl. 251. Taxotrophis microphylla, F. Muell. Fragm. Phyt. Austr. vi. 193. Trophis opaca, Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 224 (in part).
North and South Islands: Not uncommon in lowland forests throughout. Turepo; Milk-tree. October–February.
Abounding in milky sap, which is said to be palatable. The wood is dense and heavy, but not durable. The spikes are often diseased, and converted into large much-branched panicles densely clothed with small imbricating bracts, the flowers being altogether aborted.page 633
P. Banksii, Cheesem. n. sp. — A small tree 15–25 ft. high, glabrous or the young branches pubescent; bark brown. Leaves usually close-set, spreading, 1½–3½ in. long, ovate-oblong or elliptic-oblong, obtuse or acute, coriaceous, glabrous, obtusely crenate or crenate-dentate, veins finely reticulate. Spikes solitary or geminate or rarely 3 together, axillary, rarely terminal, pedunculate. Males 1–2 in. long, cylindrical, densely many-flowered; flowers intermixed with peltate scales. Perianth rather larger than in P. heterophylla. Female spikes ½–1 in. long; flowers 8–25 or more, distichous, rhachis compressed. Drupe broadly ovoid, red, ¼ in. diam., always several and often many ripening on each spike.—P. heterophylla var. elliptica, Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxix. (1897) 500, t. 46. Trophis opaca, Banks and Sol. ex Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 224.
North Island: Usually near the sea. Bay of Islands, Colenso! Wha-ngarei Heads and Hen and Chickens Islands, T. F. C.; Great Barrier Island, Omaha, Kirk! Cuvier Island, T. F. C.; Cabbage Bay, Adams! East Cape district, Banks and Solander, Bishop Williams! Petrie! Cook Strait, Kirk! Stephen Island, H. H. Travers! November–February.
I advance this as a distinct species with considerable hesitation; but the much larger leaves, longer spikes, more numerous female flowers, and much larger and more numerous drupes are prominent characters, and although intermediates exist between it and P. heterophylla the two plants appear to be too wide apart to be treated as a single species.
P. Smithii, Cheesem. in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xx. (1888) 148.— A perfectly glabrous shrub or small tree 6–15 ft. high, with copious milky juice; branches long, slender, straggling, often flexuous and interlaced; bark dark-brown, rough with raised lenticels. Leaves 4–8 in. long, ovate-oblong or elliptic-oblong, obtuse or obtusely acuminate, rounded or obliquely cordate at the base, quite entire, dark-green, coriaceous; veins conspicuous, reticulated; stipules lanceolate, caducous. Spikes solitary or geminate, axillary or from the branches below the leaves, 2–5 in. long. Males cylindric, densely many-flowered; flowers intermixed with peltate scales. Perianth ⅛ in. diam.; segments rounded, spreading, pubescent externally. Females many-flowered, the flowers minute, densely packed in 2 irregular rows on each side of the flattened rhachis, intermixed with peltate scales. Perianth-segments rounded, obtuse, closely appressed to the ovary, the 2 outer rather smaller than the others. Ovary conic, exserted. Style deeply 2-partite. Drupe globose, bright-red, ⅓ in. diam.
North Island: Three Kings Islands, abundant, T. F. C.
Easily recognised by the large entire leaves and long many-flowered female spikes, with the flowers distichously arranged in 2 rows on each side of the rhachis.