One of the most well known native plants, distinguished by its dark green heart shaped leaves and knobbly branches. Kawakawa is a mostly coastal tree growing up to 5m in height. It is common to see its leaves riddled with holes from the Kawakawa looper caterpillar. It is the closest plant to the Māori supreme being io, so carries intense medicinal and spiritual properties.
- The raw leaf can be chewed on to relieve tooth and headache.
- The underside of the leaf is used as a poultice on infected wounds.
- A couple of leaves in a cup of boiled water is a strong blood tonic.
- Balms made from it are effective on eczema, rashes and stings.
- Used as an insect repellent when rubbed on skin.