One of the most beautiful trees in New Zealand, tītoki has tropical relatives and occupies warm fertile places in lowland New Zealand, and is uncommon in the park.

It is a small tree recognised mainly by its large pinnate leaves (leaflets in two rows). The seed is jet black and half surrounded by a scarlet glandular pulp that is eagerly sought by native birds, especially kererū. The seed contains oil that was extracted by Māori by cooking and crushing and used as hair oil and a skin anointment.

Ripe tītoki seeds are rarely seen because the tree fruits only occasionally in ‘mast’ years.



Tītoki—photo Philip Simpson