Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Vitex lucens
Kirk, Lamiaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  Evaluate; score: 2 (Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment for Vitex lucens)

Other Latin names:  Vitex littoralis A. Cunn.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: puriri

Habit:  tree

Description:  "Large tree with thin pale flaky bark over an uneven knobbly trunk bearing dark green leaves made of five wrinkled leaflets radiating from the top of a stalk, largest leaflet in the middle, flowers pink, bell-shaped with projecting pale filaments, fruit 2cm wide and red. . . . Tree up to c. 20 m. tall with a broad spreading canopy; trunk up to c.15 m. diamete; bark grey-brown, firm, flaking in small irregular-shaped shards. Branches stout, spreading; branchlets 4-angled, green. Leaves opposite, glabrous, coriaceous, compound, on petioles up to 110 mm long; Leaflets 3-4-5, somewhat undulose, adaxially dark green, glossy, abaxially lighter green, mat; basal one or pair of leaflets usually much smaller than the terminal 3, digitate; lamina of 3 main leaflets 50-140 30-60 mm; elliptic-oblong to obovate, abruptly acute to subacuminate, margin entire. Domatia (pit-type) present at axils of costa and main veins. Inflorescence in axillary, dichotomous, (4)-10-15-flowered panicles. Calyx cupular, minutely 5-toothed; corolla dull red, pink or white, pubescent, 2-lipped, c.25-35 mm long. Upper lip entire or bifid, lower deflexed, 3-lobed. Style slender, bifid, c.25 mm long. Drupe 20-26 mm diameter subglobose, bright red, pink or white." (NZPCN)

Habitat/ecology:  "In the northern part of its range Puriri is a common co-dominant with Taraire (Beilschmiedia tarairi) and karaka (Corynocarpus laevigatus) especially on rich fertile soils derived from basaltic and basaltic-andesitic igneous rocks. South of the northern Bay of Plenty and Raglan Harbours it is rarely found inland and is more commonly found in coastal forest where it co-habits with pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) and karaka. Puriri is also an important forest tree on many of the smaller islands of the Hauraki Gulf, where it may at times be the canopy dominant." (NZPCN) "Lowland and coastal forests in warm temperate areas . . . Fertile, well-drained hill and floodplain alluvial soils . . . Tolerates wide range of moisture conditions including summer drought . . . Prone to frost damage and possum browsing" (Marden & Phillips)

Propagation:  "One of the fastest growing native tree species in early years after establishment. Multiple stems form from the base of the plant. Lowland and coastal forests produce trees up to 20 m high and 1.5 m in diameter. Timber is black, heavy, hard, strong and durable. Coppices readily." (Marden & Phillips)

Seed (Southward et al., p. 427)

Native range:  Vitex lucens Kirk (Lamiaceae) is native to the North Island of New Zealand. (GRIN)

Impacts and invaded habitats:  (no invaded habitats or impacts known by PIER; please let us know if you know of such information we should add here)

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)   Consortium of Pacific Herbaria (2018)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country)   Consortium of Pacific Herbaria (2018)
New Zealand
New Zealand
North Island (NZ) native
U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (year unknown)
accessed 20180405
New Zealand
New Zealand
North Island (NZ)   Consortium of Pacific Herbaria (2018)
New Zealand
New Zealand
North Island (NZ) native
de Lange, P. J. (2011)
accessed 20180405
New Zealand
New Zealand
North Island (NZ) native
cultivated
Southward, R. C./Fountain, D. W./Gao, R./McGill, C. R./Outred, H. A. (2002) (p. 427)
seed

Comments:  Seed of Vitex lucens was delivered to Hawaii as early as 1920,* but PIER has not confirmed its persistence or recent occurrence there (05APR2018). (*From the Division of Forestry, Board of Commissioners of Agriculture and Forestry, Territory of Hawaii: "From Mr. E. Phillips Turner, Secretary of the Department of Forestry at Wellington, New Zealand, a shipment was received, on May 19, of seed of the following three New Zealand timber trees: Puriri, Vitex lucens; Totara, Podocarpus totara and Kauri pine, Agathis Australis. These were arranged for through the kindness of Mr. A. Moritzson and have been sowed in the nursery." [The Hawaiian Forester and Agriculturist, 1920, p. 200])

Control:  (control info not known by PIER)


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 12 SEP 2017 and was last updated on 21 MAY 2018.