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Corynocarpus laevigatus - J.R.Forst.&G.Forst.

Common Name New Zealand Laurel, Karaka nut
Family Corynocarpaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards The seed is poisonous raw[65, 173].
Habitats Coastal and lowland forest, south to latitude 44°south[44].
Range New Zealand.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Corynocarpus laevigatus New Zealand Laurel, Karaka nut

Corynocarpus laevigatus New Zealand Laurel, Karaka nut


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Physical Characteristics

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Corynocarpus laevigatus is an evergreen Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 8 m (26ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from December to February. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.



Woodland Garden Secondary; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw. Sweet and pulpy[1, 2, 46, 59, 61, 103, 173]. One report says that it is poisonous raw[153], though the writer might have been confused with the seed[K]. Seed - cooked[46, 59, 61, 128]. The seed needs to be soaked in salt water or thoroughly boiled or roasted in order to destroy a deleterious principle[1, 2, 63]. A staple food of the Maoris, it contains a tasteless farinaceous substance[2, 103]. The seed contains about 11% protein and 58% carbohydrate[173].

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.

None known

Other Uses

Insecticide;  Wood.

An insecticide is made from the plant[153]. Wood. The tree trunk is used by the Maoris to make canoes[46, 61].

Cultivation details

Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[1]. Best grown in a woodland garden[166]. Plants are not very frost-tolerant and are only hardy outdoors in the mildest areas of Britain[1]. There is a large tree in Falmouth[59]. Plants tolerate pruning if this is necessary[188].


Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe[188]. 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. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[188].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

New Zealand Laurel, Karaka nut, karaka, Cook Islands: koopii. Germany: Karakabaum. Hawaii: karaka nut; karakanut; karakaranut; New Zealand laurel. New Zealand: koopii; kopi; Maori peanut; wairarapa.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Australia, New Zealand, Pacific, Tasmania, Vanuatu.

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.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. Weedy in southern regions of the North Island of New Zealand. It is naturalised and considered invasive in Hawaii.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Sandra Gibbons   Thu Feb 17 22:48:54 2005

Pakeha (European,)plantings have proven the Karaka to be more frost tolerant than some believe, (Brian Molloy,Botany Division, DSIR, Lincoln (University, NZ) "The origin, relationships, and use of karaka or kopi." Maori have enjoyed eating the flesh of the berry for 1,000 years.)

Link: Karaka (coryncarpus laevigatus) J.R. et G.Forst in Wellington conservancy Comprehensive Dept of Conservation (NZ,) Document

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Subject : Corynocarpus laevigatus  
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