Myoporum Laetum is a tree that belongs to the family Scrophulariaceae.
Overview of Myoporum Laetum or Ngaio
• This tree is also known by the names:
– Mousehole tree
– False sandalwood
• It is a native to New Zealand.
• Ngaio is a fast growing evergreen shrub or small tree.
• It appears dome shaped at first.
• It gets distorts as it gets older.
• This is so when branches break off.
• It grows up to a height of about 10 metres.
• It bears white blossoms which have purple spots.
• These flowers are borne from mid spring to mid-summer.
• The bark has a brownish furrowed look.
• The leaves have small oil glands.
• They are visible as small yellow or white speckles.
• This makes the leaf distinguishable from other shrubs.
• The flowers of this tree are bisexual.
• They are borne on axillary cymes.
• The corolla is 5 lobed.
• It is about 1.5-2 cm across.
• Ovary is superior with 2 locules.
• The fruit is a bright red in color.
• The drupe is 6-9 mm long.
• Ngaio grows in coastal areas of New Zealand.
• It grows towards lowland forest.
Myoporum laetum has been introduced to other countries like:
– United States
• The Maori would rub these leaves onto their skin in order to repel mosquitoes and sand flies.
• The leaves consists a liver toxin named Ngaione.
• This toxin can cause sickness.
• It can lead to death in stock like horses, cattle, sheep and pigs.
• The seed is 5-8mm in size.
• It has a light brown color.
Scientific Classification of Myoporum Laetum or Ngaio
• Kingdom : Plantae
• (unranked) : Angiosperms
• (unranked) : Eudicots
• (unranked) : Asterids
• Order : Lamiales
• Family : Scrophulariaceae
• Genus : Myoporum
• Species : M. laetum
• Binomial name : Myoporum laetum
• Stratification for 8 weeks is required for these seeds.
• Pre-germination treatment of seed is essential.
• These seeds can take many months to germinate.
• It reduces the thickness of the outer coat of seed.
• One can do so even by nicking with a knife or with sandpaper.
• Propagation can be done with the help of cuttings and using a rooting hormone.
• Roots form within 5-9 weeks.
• This tree can be grown in most soils.
• The soil should be well-drained.
• It can thrive in dry and poor soils.
• This tree is very resistant to maritime exposure and salt spray.
• This tree requires greenhouse protection in some areas.
• These trees do not tolerate temperatures that go below 0°c.
• Sow the seed in spring in a greenhouse.
• When large, remove these seedlings out to separate pots.
• Grow them in greenhouse their first winter.
• They can be shifted in late spring or early summer to permanent spots.
• Some protection is required in cold weather.