Laurus tawa A.Cunn., Nesodaphne tawa (A.Cunn.) Hook.f., Laurus victoriana Colenso, Beilschmiedia tawaroa A.E.Wright
In the North Island and north-eastern corner of the South Island.
A tall tree reaching 25m in the forest, but around 8-10m in a garden. It has delicate, pale, thin narrow leaves, 5-10cm long, insignificant flowers and striking dark purple drupes about 2.5cm long, much loved by native wood pigeons.
Beilschmiedia tawa is one of three species endemic to this country. Cooked by being steamed or roasted in fire ashes, tawa kernels were a very valuable food for pre-European Maori, often being kept for years as a standby. The berries were also eaten by children, though had to be fully ripe to be very palatable.
Likes a moist free-draining soil, but can tolerate drier conditions. It grows slowly and needs frost protection when young however, it makes a great specimen tree in the garden and can be used in a mixed planting of native trees if there is a large enough area.