We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Laurelia novae-zealandiae - A.Cunn.

Common Name Pukatea
Family Atherospermataceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Lowland semi-swamp and gully forests in North and South Islands, south to latitude 46°s[44].
Range New Zealand.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade
Laurelia novae-zealandiae Pukatea

Laurelia novae-zealandiae Pukatea


Translate this page:


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Laurelia novae-zealandiae is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft 10in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9. It is in leaf all year. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Secondary; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Analgesic  Odontalgic

Analgesic, odontalgic[153].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses


The multi-coloured wood is used in furniture making and to build boats, for it does not easily split[245].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in sun or semi-shade in any moderately fertile soil, including a limey soil, so long as it does not dry out in the growing season[200]. Another report says that it requires an acid, well-drained soil and does well in the semi-shade of a sheltered woodland[245]. Requires a warm position sheltered from cold winds[200]. This species is not very hardy in Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c[200], it succeeds outdoors in the mildest areas of the country[1]. The leaves are aromatic[245].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Seed - sow February or March in a warm greenhouse. Germination rates are variable[78]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their first winter or two outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in individual pots in sandy soil in a frame. Keep them moist. Fair percentage[78]. Layering in spring[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Laurelia sempervirensChilean LaurelTree15.0 8-11  LMHSNM212

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

david nicholls   Sat Sep 30 09:10:39 2000

Apparantly the analgesic activity in the bark is strong similar to morphine,but without after effects, the alkaloid responsible is pukateine.

It is strange that something comparable to morphine with out after-effects has not been exploited,almost all the research seems to predate 1930.

It was used for toothache and neuralgia. (NZ medicinal Plants-Brooker, Cambie, Cooper (this book seems to be written for researchers and does not recommend anything). I've not tried the bark but probably will if my tooth gets any worse. Extensive experimentation by amateurs with the raw product would probably be foolhardy.

The wood has also been used for carving by Maori.

I've planted only one in boggy soil, it did very poorly almost dead(fairly rare for me), possibly wind or competition from grass, cause unknown.

david   Sun Oct 8 09:17:38 2000

since adding this I've read what( I think) is the original comparison with morphine, it appears to refer only to external application to the skin, there is also a reference to small animals being killed by ingesting the bark. Although no humans have been known to be affected this seems a good reason to be weary, even if it was taken internally in decoction for V.D..

Ref;Maori healing and Herbal 1994 Murdoch Riley. This book mainly presents historical notes on plants without assessing them, it does not recomend anything, it has beautiful photos.

jacky   Tue Mar 22 07:58:17 2005

I have consumed tinctures of this plant as well as used the material topically. I have experienced a tight chest type of feeling and slight mental distress from consuming larger amounts of the tincture. apparently an alkaloid called pukateine is a dopaminergic compound. topically the material does relieve pain, although not nearly as efficacious as other OTC products. the plant contains a large variety of isoquinolines. I have also nebulized the product. it has potential.

jacky   Tue Mar 22 07:58:17 2005

traditionally, indigenous tribes considered taking internal amounts of natural medicines as taboo. because of this the I think research into new zealand herbals has some interesting potential. I started taking very small amounts of the pukatea extract, and worked up to 10 millilitres of a 1:2 tincture of the product. I am specifically interested in opioid agonists that exist in nature. there are alot of opioid agonists out there, many have not been imported into the states, but are available on the international market.

elfspice   Thu May 6 08:48:06 2004

I have been in contact with a person who has bioassayed a crude extract of the bark of the pukatea tree, not much to report as yet, although he said it has been quite effective at helping him withdraw from an opium addiction.

I suffer from an attention deficit problem, and after using a combination of ritalin, opium and brugmansia sanguinia leaf i have found significant relieve, ritalin for the focus (dopamine) (previously it had been causing very unpleasant side effects until i tried the combination), the brugmansia as i had started to suspect organophosphate toxicity interaction (which also made the attention deficit worse as i was prone to dizziness, digestive upsets, muscular weakness and tiredness), and the opium to reduce the general levels of agitation, and lower my blood pressure to a more safe level...)

the results have been quite phenomenal. i believe now, after this experiment, which was fairly poorly done, but i am no scientist and cannot make pure extracts or whatever... but this seemed very much effective, i had to stop taking the brugmansia altogether after 2 1/2 days (note that i was taking much less at a time than is required for a 'psychoactive' effect and only at the end the dose got too high and i noticed my eyes were dialated when i got a noticable tracer from the moon), as it started to noticably affect me in a bad way (kept me awake all night) and i stopped with the opium, no major withdrawals, although i felt quite odd the next morning (stayed up to 5am)... i intend to get my sleep now...

the ritalin now does not give me the same side effects at all. I attribute this to the effect of the brugmansia blocking the effect of the organophosphate poisoning... I wish there was a proper medicine which could protect one from it, but as it stands i can't find any information about chronic toxicity (i may lack an enzyme essential to metabolising OP's or something). I now actually get a slight dry mouth with the ritalin, which did not happen before at all. All the blood pressure, elevated body temperatures, tremors, all gone now, and i have so much more energy and vitality.

I actually have found that the combination of opium and ritalin extremely preferable to either by themselves, and it is my hope that this plant medicine offers a possible alternative to the ritalin. If it also happens to help the decomposition of organophosphates (the antioxidant action sounds like it might be just that)... not holding my breath... but there is good reason to suspect it may well be the optimal solution, which would be a major relief as i know of no other single medicine which does everything i am needing, and the dopamine agonist drugs are all scheduled which makes it so i have to deal with a psych, and the drug prohibition folks, a legal, readily available and effective treatment for my combination of attention deficit and OP sensitivity, so i can focus on the issues in my psychology which, now that the physical issue is dealt with, will become much easier, as it was i already have made major progress all on my own.

Gotta get out and find some, lucky i am located in new zealand on the north island so i should be able to find it.

here is the abstract of a recent study into the pharmacology of pukateine, found via pubmed:

General Pharmacology Volume 32, Issue 3 , March 1999, Pages 373-379

doi:10.1016/S0306-3623(98)00210-9 Cite or link using doi Copyright ? 1999 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved. General papers

Dopaminergic pharmacology and antioxidant properties of pukateine, a natural product lead for the design of agents increasing dopamine neurotransmission

Federico A. Dajas-Bailadora, , , Marcelo Asenciob, Carolina Bonillaa, Ma. Cecilia Scorzac, Carolina Echeverryc, Miguel Reyes-Paradac, Rodolfo Silveirac, Philippe Protaisd, Graeme Russelle, Bruce K. Casselsb and Federico Dajasa

a Division of Neurochemistry, Instituto de Investigaciones Biol?gicas Clemente Estable, Av. Italia 3318, Montevideo, Uruguay b Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile c Division of Cell Biology, Instituto de Investigaciones Biol?gicas Clemente Estable, Av. Italia 3318, Montevideo, Uruguay d Physiology Laboratory, UFR de M?decine-Pharmacie, Universit? de Rouen, Saint-?tienne du Rouvray, France e Horticultural Research Institute, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Received 16 January 1998; revised 30 June 1998; accepted 7 July 1998. Available online 1 April 1999.


The dopaminergic and antioxidant properties of pukateine [(R)-11-hydroxy-1,2-methylenedioxyaporphine, PUK], a natural aporphine derivative, were analyzed in the rat central nervous system. At dopamine (DA) D1 ([3H]-SCH 23390) and D2 ([3H]-raclopride) binding sites, PUK showed IC50 values in the submicromolar range (0.4 and 0.6 M, respectively). When the uptake of tritiated dopamine was assayed by using a synaptosomal preparation, PUK showed an IC50 = 46 M. In 6-hydroxydopamine unilaterally denervated rats, PUK (8 mg/kg but not 4 mg/kg) elicited a significant contralateral circling, a behavior classically associated with a dopaminergic agonist action. When perfused through a microdialysis probe inserted into the striatum, PUK (340 M) induced a significant increase in dopamine levels. In vitro experiments with a crude rat brain mitochondrial suspension showed that PUK did not affect monoamine oxidase activities, at concentrations as high as 100 M. PUK potently and dose-dependently inhibited the basal lipid peroxidation of a rat brain membrane preparation. As a whole, PUK showed a unique profile of action, comprising an increase in extracellular DA, an agonist-like interaction with DA receptors, and antioxidant activity. Thus, PUK may be taken as a lead compound for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for Parkinson disease.

Author Keywords: Pukateine; Brain dopamine; Dopamine receptor binding; Oxidative stress; Aporphines; Parkinson disease; Lipid peroxidation

Index Terms: antioxidant activity; drug receptor binding; dopaminergic system; antioxidant; aporphine derivative; dopamine receptor; dopamine receptor stimulating agent

Corresponding author. Tel./Fax: 598 2 4872603; email: [email protected]

Link: pubmed link to pukateine study

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Laurelia novae-zealandiae  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.