Term 1 2018 Plant Study – ‘Shrubby Tororaro’ (Muehlenbeckia astonii)
At Moturoa School we have many fine examples of the nationally endangered divaricating shrub Muehlenbeckia astonii (shrubby tororaro) to study in the children’s native gardens. They are a fascinating shrub to observe throughout the year as they change dramatically through the seasons and are deciduous or semi-deciduous which means you get to see the internal structure of the shrub during the winter months. It produces tiny greenish-white flowers and fleshy white fruit which provide a source of food for some native birds and lizards. The shrub is also an important host for a wide range of native insects. Muehlenbeckia astonii does not occur naturally in Taranaki but another member of the plant group Muehlenbeckia complexa (scrambling or wiry pohuehue) is common along the Taranaki coastline, including in New Plymouth.