Akeake is also known by the common name Dodonea is a small tree.
Overview of Akeake
• Akeake can grow up to a height of seven metres.
• It has pale green, long, thin and willow-like leaves.
• The flowers are tiny without petals.
• It has a striking reddish-yellow seed.
• The seed appears in capsules.
• It has thin and broad wings.
• The trunk grows up to 16 cm in diameter.
• Male and female plants are required in order to produce seeds.
• Akeake is common in coastal and lowland scrub.
• It is also found in the forest throughout the North Island and as far south as Greymouth and Banks Peninsula in the South Island.
• It grows from sea level up to 550 meters.
• It needs a well drained soil.
Uses of Akeake
Akeake timber is one of the hardest native woods. The wood was traditionally used for:
• Digging sticks
• Spade blades
The twigs can be used to make a number of dyes:
• Pale green
• Yellow green
• Bright gold
Leaves and seed were used to make a kind of perfume.
Growing/Caring conditions for Akeake
• Locate a shady location.
• The site should receive periodic direct sunlight.
• Tree ferns will not thrive in complete shade.
• It should be planted in areas.
• The location should receive some direct sunlight.
• The locations should also have plenty of space to develop.
• Till compost into the soil of the planting site.
• This will help to improve drainage.
• Trim the tops of each plant.
• Trim them in late summer or autumn.
• They get up to 30 cm in height.
• This is to prevent them getting leggy.
• Leggy plants do not grow well.
• Regular trimming will help them establish.
• Akeake is very good for providing low coastal shelter.
• This plant has a fibrous spreading root system.
• It has rapid growth and spreading canopy.
• It makes an ideal soil stabilizer.
• The seed pods are useful for floral work.
• The tree grows best in a medium well drained soil.
• It survives salt spray well.
• It is easily propogated by seed.
• Seeds can be collected at the end of summer.
• The wood is dense and heavy.
• These plants are easy to grow from seed.
• Pick the pods from female plants before they fall in February.
• Squeeze out the single black, spherical seed from each pod.
• Dry out in a brown paper bag in the hot water cupboard.
• Macerate this dry matter between your hands.
• Separate seeds from chaff by sieve.
• Sow them.
• Germination begins with fresh seed after 7 days of sowing.
• Seed stores well with slower and more erratic germination.
• The seedlings are hardy and quick growing.
• They can be 1 meter high.