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Myoporum laetum - G.Forst.

Common Name Ngaio, Ngaio tree, Mousehole Tree
Family Myoporaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards All parts of the plant contain a liver toxin[173].
Habitats Usually found by the coast, often to the high tide mark[128], it is also found in lowland forests on North, South and Chatham Islands south to latitude 46°s[44].
Range New Zealand. Hawaii. California. Australia
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Myoporum laetum Ngaio, Ngaio tree, Mousehole Tree
Myoporum laetum Ngaio, Ngaio tree, Mousehole Tree


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Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late winter, Mid spring. Form: Rounded.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Myoporum laetum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[153, 177]. The fruit is about 6 - 9mm in diameter[200]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on possible toxicity.

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.
Odontalgic  Vulnerary

Odontalgic, vulnerary. The bark is used to treat ulcers[61].

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Other Uses


A decoction of the leaves is used as an insect repellent[128]. It is effective against mosquitoes[245].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Espalier, Screen, Standard, Specimen, Woodland garden. Easily grown in most soils[167] so long as they are well-drained[188]. Succeeds in dry soils[200] and in poor soils[188]. Very resistant to maritime exposure and salt spray[166]. This species is not very hardy in mainland Britain, it succeeds outdoors on the Scilly Isles[1] but usually requires greenhouse protection elsewhere[1]. Plants flower freely in Cornish gardens[1, 59]. Plants do not tolerate temperatures below 0°c[166]. The leaves emit a resinous smell when bruised[245]. The flowers are also fragrant[245]. Special Features: Not North American native, Invasive, Attractive flowers or blooms. Myoporum thrips or naio thrips (Klambothrips myopori) have been documented from California, Hawaii and Tasmania were they are linked to extensive damage of landscape and nursery stock of Myoporum laetum. Many thrips species are pests of commercially important crops. Thrips have caused high levels of mortality in ornamental Myoporum species used for landscaping in residential areas, parks and along road margins. In Hawaii it is attacking the native Myoporum sandwicense, locally known as naio.

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Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. 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. Consider giving the plants some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up in the autumn. Good percentage[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

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

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
Myoporum debileWinter AppleShrub1.0 8-11  LMHNDM11 
Myoporum desertiTurkey BushShrub3.0 -  LMHNDM10 
Myoporum ellipticum  0.0 -  LMHSNM00 
Myoporum insulareBoobyallaShrub3.0 8-11  LMHNDM10 
Myoporum montanumWater BushShrub2.0 -  LMHNDM10 
Myoporum platycarpum Shrub0.0 -  LMHNDM11 
Myoporum tetrandrumBoobiallaShrub5.0 8-11  LMHNDM10 


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

S Frost   Wed Feb 26 02:59:01 2003

Is it possible for the fruit of this plant, M. Laetum to eat the paint of off a car? Please let me know, thank you very much,

lesley mcarthur   Sun Mar 23 06:04:37 2003

Does this plant contribute to allergic reactions or asthma?

hiba   Thu Apr 10 16:15:16 2003

Link: myoporum laetum forst active constituent

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