In New Zealand we have some very interesting trees called lancewoods. There’s the relatively normal lancewood Pseudopanax crassifolius and the fierce or savage lancewood Pseudopanax ferox (!) Both of them have a different juvenile form to their adult form. The leaves of the juvenile fierce lancewood look pretty fierce being more strongly toothed. We do have some vicious NZ plants but you’re unlikely to suffer injury from a lancewood, fierce or otherwise.

Let’s just enjoy the photos, I won’t bother about which lancewood they are.

The first photo is by me, everything else was taken by Nigel.

First three photos are from Dunedin Botanic Garden, Christmas 2019.

Lancewoods making the transition to their adult form.


Same trees, taken by Nigel.

The lollipop form of a mature lancewood. Dunedin Botanic Garden.

The remaining photos are ones I selected from Nigel’s photo archive.

Two lancewoods closely entwined by Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown.

Lancewood by a building in Invercargill, Southland showing the typically gnarly tough trunk of a mature tree.

They’re obvious candidates for very thin gardens. These by a gym in Gore.

Lancewoods are fascinating native trees!

If you’d like to see more photos, here’s links:

‘normal’ lancewood

fierce or savage lancewood

Text by Liz, photos by Nigel except first; Exploring Colour (2020)

14 thoughts on “Lancewoods

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  1. The difference between the normal and the fierce is striking. Would definitely avoid the fierce although could make a good guard tree to ward off unwelcome visitors. Love the photo by the gym and it’s shadow. Weekend greetings to you both

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I recommend to anyone to look at these photos, Steve your photos are tremendous the way they show the stark difference between juvenile and mature forms. Awesome!


    1. Hahaha, I know! So funny because the only way I ever think I might get hurt by one is if I accidentally got poked in the eye by a leaf – they’re very stiff. But I wear glasses all the time so most unlikely!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t take the protection your glasses give for granted Liz! I wear glasses all the time too but I’ve had two eye injuries from plants where they came in from the side of the glasses. I was lucky that they didn’t do any permanent damage but it is a painful experience! So do take care, please!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I always jump in and warn other glasses-wearers about that one, because I didn’t think it could happen and I wouldn’t like anyone to have a possibly much worse injury. The thought makes me cringe!

            Liked by 1 person

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