Entelea arborescens (whau)
Entelea arborescens, commonly known as whau, is a small tree found naturally in lowland forest from the Three Kings Islands to Bay of Plenty and spasmodically in northern areas of the South Island. The wood of whau is extremely light, weighing half that of cork. The soft heart shaped serrated leaves are very large, up to 25cm long and 20cm wide, and are bright green with prominent veining on the undersides. The pretty white flowers occur in spring and early summer, and are followed by the spiny fruit that resemble a chestnut burr. Whau is fast growing, to about 3m, making it a useful filler. Its distinctive appearance also makes it suitable for inclusion in a tropical planting or as a feature plant. Although it will tolerate poorer conditions, a good deep soil is best. Frost tender. Whau has a tendency to be short lived but it is easily raised from seed. Propogation can also be by cuttings.