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Meryta sinclairii, Puka

Meryta sinclairii

Family: Araliaceae
Origin: New Zealand
Large shrub 5-10 ftFull sunSemi-shadeRegular waterOrnamental foliageSeaside, salt tolerant plant

The leaves of this grand tropical-looking tree are glossy green and large, being 25-50 cm long and half as wide again. The tree grows into a rounded shape and will branch if encouraged.

Heavily veined, the leaves are quite leathery and wavy on the edges. A few weeks before shedding, the leaves turn rich yellow and are quite attractive. The flowers, produced mid-winter, are very small and green. These are followed (on female plants only) by 12mm long black, shiny fruits.

Puka is an impressive specimen tree for any garden, especially native or tropical settings. Growing Puka in full sun to partial shade with deep, well-drained but moist soil. If planted in partial shade, the Puka will generally be taller than if planted in full sun, as stems will shoot up until leaves are in sunlight before filling out.

Puka is quite hardy in that it can withstand strong winds and salt, making it ideal for coastal areas. However, the tree does not enjoy heavy frosts.

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