montana: From the Latin mons 'mountain', meaning growing on mountains
Nestegis montana (Hook.f.) L.A.S.Johnson
Vascular - Native
Olea montana Hook.f., Gymnelaea montana (Hook.f.) L.A.S.Johnson
Endemic. North and South Islands from near Kaitaia south to the Waimea Plain Nelson. Scarce in the southern North Island (where it is most common in the eastern Wairarapa) and very uncommon in the South Island).
Widespread though rarely abundant in coastal to montane forest. Often found on steep hill slopes and ridge lines but also can be locally common in riparian forest especially on the margins of forest flats and tomo or dolines in karst country. Narrow-leaved maire is unusually common on the sand country of the Pouto Peninsula where it can at times dominate local coastal forest (e.g., Tapu Bush - see Wright and Young 1991).
Gynodioecious(?) canopy tree up to 15 m tall, usually forming a domed canopy; trunk up to c.0.6 m diameter; occasional bearing 2 or more trunks from base these slender, straight, somewhat spreading, bark firm (not flaking), grey-brown to red-brown, tessellated. branches slender, upright to spreading; branchlets glabrous; branchlets glabrescent (with young growth initially minutely weakly pubescent). Leaves glabrous, coriaceous, dark glossy green above, paler beneath, margins plane (rarely weakly undulating), entire with midrib slightly raised above and below (side veins not evident when leaf fresh); borne on flexible, slender petioles 2-3(-5) mm long; lamina of juveniles 50-100 × 4-10 mm, narrowly linear, linear to linear-lanceolate, apex acute (rarely obtuse); adult lamina 40-80(-100) × 4-8 mm, narrow-linear to very narrowly-lanceolate, apex acute or, rarely, obtuse, base cuneately narrowed or attenuate. Inflorescence a 5-10-flowered raceme, rhachis and pedicels slender, mostly glabrous (sometimes sparsely, minutely puberulent). Male flowers with shallowly lobed calyx, lobes ovate-triangular, acute, anthers 2, exserted, ovary usually rudimentary (rarely functional). Female flowers similar but with anthers rudimentary (sometimes functional). Drupe 6-14 mm long, narrowly ovoid, flesh pinkish red, red or orange; endocarp 6.5-12.0 × 3.0-4.5 mm, dull, pale orange-yellow, elliptic. Seed purple-brown. Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Webb & Simpson (2001).
Mature trees are easily distinguished from the other three species of maire (Nestegis) by their distinctive linear, linear-lanceolate leaves, and much smaller fruits (6-14 mm in N. montana, 10-18 mm in N. apetala, 15-20 mm in N. cunninghamii and 10-18 mm in N. lanceolata)
November - January
Main Flower Colour
December - May
Easily grown from fresh seed. An attractive small tree that makes an excellent specimen tree for a large garden or street avenue. Once established Nestegis montana is extremely tolerant of drought and frost. However, plants do best when planted in semi-shade in a position where they can grow into the light but they are remarkably tolerant of being planted into full sun. This tree deserves to be grown more widely than it is. However, it is rarely available from plant nurseries, even those that specialize in native plants.
2n = 46
This page last updated on 8 Aug 2012