Myoporum laetum
ngaio

Myoporaceae (myoporum family)
New Zealand
Myoporum laetum. From Trees of Stanford and Environs, Ronald Bracewell

A very useful rapidly growing shrubby screen plant, identifiable by the translucent oil dots that may be seen by holding the glossy leaves to the light. Small white bells with petals bearing avenues of reddish-brown spots; the fine scale tells us that the spots are for the guidance of small flies searching for the nectar in the tiny bells. The flowers come in clusters and are followed by reddish-purple berries.

Groups of ngaio may be seen on Campus Drive East between Escondido Road and Serra Street, at the southwest corner of the service station at Serra Street and Campus Drive East, and at 749 Mayfield Avenue.

Name derivation: Myoporum – Greek myo (to close) and poros (opening, pore), referring to the translucent dots on the leaves that are filled (closed) with liquid; laetum – Jan de Laet, Belgian patron of botany (or Latin laetum – pleasant).

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005.