Kohekohe leavesKohekohe trunkKohekohe flower
Kohokohe bark

Kohekohe Dysoxylum spectabile

Distribution A medium-sized tree endemic to New Zealand. It is found in lowland and coastal forests throughout most of North Island and also occurs in the north of the South Island. Growth to 15m in height and trunk to a metre in diameter. Kohekohe forest used to be common in damp coastal and lowland areas in the North Island, but these forests have mostly disappeared because the land was drained and settled. They are eaten by possums.

About It produces panicles of scented white flowers which grow directly from the trunk or branches. Kohekohe is sometimes known as New Zealand Mahogany, because its wood is light, strong and polishes to a fine red colour. Maori boiled the bark in water and drank it as a tonic. The wood was used for building canoes but the wood is soft and not as durable as hardwoods so rotted quickly. Kohekohe was probably the dominant vegetation cover on Kapiti Island before it was cleared in the early 1800s for cultivation and farming. The kohekohe forest on Kapiti is recovering after possums were eradicated in 1986. It is valued for carving.