Pseudopanax arboreus (five-finger )
Pseudopanax arboreus, commonly known as five-finger, is a common tree of lowland forests throughout New Zealand that grows into a well-branched rounded tree of 3-6m. The leaves are composed of 5-7 leaflets radiating on short stalks from a central stem. The leaflets are graduated in size, with the smaller ones being closest to the main stem and the largest up to 20cm long. They are a deep shiny green, paler beneath and leathery with serrated margins. The tiny flowers are produced in large clusters during winter, and male and female flowers are carried on separate trees. The flowers are followed by small purplish berries that appeal to birds. A very versatile plant, suitable as a feature or in a group and its rapid growth also makes it useful for re-vegetation. In humid areas it can be subject to root rot so should be grown on dry sites with good air movement. It can be kept bushy as it responds well to pruning.