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Last updated 26/3/20 10:28.
Alectryon excelsus - Growing Guide
Growing Alectryon excelsus
Titoki, New Zealand oak
This is an evergreen New Zealand native tree which has been growing very happily at Caerhays for nearly 20 years. Burncoose Nurseries have been importing tiny liner plants for decades and growing them on into good young trees for the more discerning gardener who wants to grow something more unusual.
It grows in lowland forests in the North Island and has large glossy mid-green pinnate leaves with serrated edges. It has very attractive reddish new growth in spring and achieves a height of 12-24ft in the wild. Our plant is currently about 8-10ft tall but, sadly, despite being in full shelter in a hot spot with dappled shade, it has so far failed to flower.
The flowers are petal-less with a rusty hue in summer and are followed by spectacular scarlet seed capsules that split to reveal shiny black seeds.
We have not found this small tree to be tender even in the 2018 ‘Beast from the East’ and live in hope of flowers soon after this run of dry summers.