While dealing with weedy elder trees in native bush on Hereweka Harbour Cone, Duncan Ross came across a surprise. What could this small leaved shrub be? It was unlike any he had seen previously.
Duncan posted photos of the unfamiliar shrub on iNaturalist and his identification was confirmed as Raukaua anomalus. While raukaua is relatively common throughout New Zealand, its presence on the Otago Peninsula is extremely rare due to the lack of native forest remnants.
On the Otago Peninsula this species is known only from 2 sites at Sandymount. So, finding a new shrub in the steep and almost inaccessible Rutherford’s Bush is very exciting for the Trust. Cuttings have been taken and later the ripe fruit will be collected in an effort to propagate this rare species.
The word “anomalus” comes from the Greek for unusual. If propagation is successful and more are planted, it is hoped this species will no longer remain unusual on the Peninsula.