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Coprosma petriei Cheesem.

Modern name

Coprosma petriei Cheeseman

A dwarf plant with prostrate stems forming broad patches 2 to 3 in. high. The leaves are dark green, densely crowded, narrow oblong or obovate, 18 to 14 in. long, more or less hairy. Fruit ranging in colour from port-wine (var. atropurpurea Ckn. & Allan) to various shades of blue, only borne in the presence of a male plant. A native of New Zealand, found in both islands to about 4,000 ft.

C. pseudocuneata W. R. B. Oliver. – A shrub of variable habit, 10 ft tall in the forests but low and compact on open mountain-sides. Leaves thick and leathery, dark green, oblong or narrow-obovate, about 34 in. long and up to 14 in. wide. Fruits translucent, orange-red. Native of New Zealand, common near the tree-line in the mountains of South Island. According to Dr Philipson, this is ‘one of the very finest of the sub-alpine shrubs of New Zealand’, but he adds the warning: ‘Quite apart from the need for unproductive male plants, the great majority of female plants are very loath to bear fruit… . However, the plant is so good at its best that it is worth taking trouble to obtain a good one’ (Rock Garden Plants, p. 103).

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

Male and female plants (the latter with pearly white fruits) are available from an introduction by Graham Hutchins from Lake Lyndon in the South Island in 1977. There is also a female clone with pale blue fruits introduced in 1981 by the same collector. It is of interest that, despite the readiness with which the coprosmas hybridise, the typical variety with white or pale blue fruits does not cross in the wild with the var. atropurpurea with wine-red fruits (Fl. New Zealand, Vol. 1, p. 566). This suggests that in gardens the male clone mentioned above, which belongs to the typical variety, would not pollinate a female var. atropurpurea.

C. ‘Blue Pearls’. – A hybrid between C. petriei and C. brunnea raised at the County Park Nursery, with blue fruits.

C. cheesemanii W. R. B. Oliver C. depressa sens. Cheesem., not Hook. f. – A low, spreading shrub, or prostrate, with linear or narrowly oblong leaves slightly larger than those of C. petriei, up to almost 12 in. long. Fruits red or orange-red, globose, about 14 in. wide. Of wide distribution in New Zealand at fairly high altitudes.



Other species in the genus