Buller Gorge Swingbridge
                                 
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Native Podocarp Trees of the Buller Gorge Swingbridge Adventure and Heritage Park
 
 

PIUPIU - CROWN FERN - Blechnum discolor

Crown ferns growing along the trackof Buller Gorge Swingbridge Adventure and Heritage Park are magnificant examples. A feature is the fish-bone shaped sterile fronds - it often looks as if two seperate plants are growing from the same base.

Maori boiled the leaves and ate them as greens; birds cooked in the hangi were wrapped in the leaves.

       
   

RIMU - RED PINE - Dacrydium cupressinum

Rimu sometimes equals the height of Kahikatea and commonly lives for up to 600 years. It is easy to distinguish by its drooping foliage which does not change in general appearance except to fade and from the very bright green of youth to the more subdued green of maturity.

The red, fleshy fruit is edible, but produced only about every 5 years. maori knew of many medicinces that could be extracted from the resin-rich leaves and bark. The first beer in new Zealand was brewed from its leaves by Captian James Cook.

 
       
   

TOTARA - Podocarpus totora

The slow growing Totara reaches about 30 metres at maturity, which can take 900 years! As a seedling the leaves look a little like Matai but are much harsher to the touch and will spike you.

The light yet durable timber had many uses for Maori. This rakau rangatira (chiefly tree) was reserved mostly for whaka (war canoes) and carvings. European settlers used it for bridges, railway sleepers, wharves and in house construction.