Titoki, Alectryon excelsus, is a shiny-leaved, evergreen fruit bearing tree, indigenous to New Zealand where it widely grows in seaward and lowland forests. Titoki grows to 10 meters tall having sturdy, erect, spreading branches and brown color bark. It is a very attractive tree with a round-headed form and as well as being one of the most important native, forest canopy trees, it can as well make a perfect feature tree in the garden.
Alectryon excelsus leaves are dark green, mat when mature, pinnate, alternate, about 30cm long with the leaflets coarsely serrated or smooth on the same tree. Flowering takes place in spring. The flowers are purple in color; inconspicuous, bisexual with a pleasant fragrance and no petals count instead on a show of rusty wool.
Titoki fruits are edible, small and strange looking, resembling somewhat raspberries in appearance. A hard, shiny, spherical black seed, the size of a cherry stone, bulges halfway from the fruit. This colorful seed is at first contained in a hairy woody capsule which splits displaying the bright red and black edible fruit with the black portion being the seed. Seeds take up to a year to mature.
Titoki Propagation Methods
Tree propagation is easy by fresh seed. The plant grows quickly in suitable conditions, favoring well drained, fertile, alluvial soils, along river banks and associated terraces, in full sun or partial shade. It is a very long-lived tree. Alectryon excelsus is a member of the family Sapindaceae the genus Alectryon.
Titoki, Alectryon excelsus
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