NZ Pepper Tree

We have two species in NZ referred to as ‘pepper tree’. The photos I’m sharing today are Pseudowintera colorata or horopito which is endemic to NZ and very common down here in the south where it can be found in bush edges and out in the open. It’s generally a greenish leaf with red blotches but can have a lot of red or not much – it’s very variable. There’s a marvellous garden cultivar with mostly red foliage called ‘Red Leopard’ which was bred here in Tapanui at Blue Mountain Nursery by expert nurseryman Denis Hughes. West Otago, New Zealand.


I photographed these plants when we were walking the bush track at Black Gully Reserve on 23 May 2021 ~Blue Mountains, Tapanui. Their size depends on conditions but they can grow 2-3m high. By all accounts if the leaves are chewed they’re very peppery! The leaves are almost white on the underside.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Underside of leaf …

A previous post has photos of Pseudowintera colorata with very red foliage at Dunedin Botanic Garden.


Text and photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2021)

4 thoughts on “NZ Pepper Tree

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  1. The colouration is pretty and gives a delicate effect, so I’m not surprised that a redder garden variety was bred. Don’t think I fancy chewing the leaves though, hehe!

    Liked by 1 person

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