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Canopy tree to 35 m, dbh 1 m. Bark grey. Branchlets with short, soft hairs when young, later glabrous. Leaf buds resinous or not. Leaves evergreen, grouped towards the stem apices, simple, 6–13 × 1.5–3 cm, oblong to lanceolate, upper surface glabrous, lower surface covered with fine hairs, major veins conspicuous, though minor veins also conspicuous on the lower surface, six to nine secondary veins on each side of the midvein, often with deep pockets (domatia) in their axils, margins serrate, often emarginate, apex acute or obtuse; petiole 1–2.3 cm long, swollen at one or both ends, pubescent when young. Inflorescences crowded among the leaves or in the axils of fallen leaves; racemes 2–7 cm long, pubescent, bearing up to 12 flowers. Flowers hermaphrodite, 5-merous and to 1 cm long; petals divided into three lobes, stamens ~20. Fruit a drupe, globose-ellipsoid, 1.1–1.6 × 0.8–1 cm, yellow-grey or dark blue to purplish; endocarp sculptured. Flowering October to February, fruiting December to May (New Zealand). Allan 1961, Coode 1984. Distribution NEW ZEALAND: North and South Is. Habitat Lowland forest between 0 and 900 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8b– 9. Conservation status Not evaluated. Cross-reference K22.
Elaeocarpus dentatus is a large forest tree, growing with Nothofagus in New Zealand. Like E. hookerianus (see below), it starts life with distinctive juvenile growth, with long narrow leaves on thin twigs, developing a trunk for several metres before switching to its adult growth-form. A specimen at Tregrehan is currently in the transitional state after about 10 years of growth. It is little known in cultivation in our area, although it is grown in a few collections, but is appreciated in its native country for its dark green leathery leaves with pale undersides. The flowers, on short racemes, are white and fragrant, and are followed by coloured fruits. It is slow-growing, and only mature trees produce flowers. It should be planted in fertile, well-drained but moist soil, in a sheltered warm site (Metcalf 2000). Hogan (2008) assesses it as being rather tender, reporting leaf damage at –7 ºC and plants cut to the ground at –10 ºC.