Herb: Native Currant

Latin name: Coprosma billardieri

Synonyms: Coprosma quadrifida

Family: Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

Edible parts of Native Currant:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Sweet and juicy, but with little flavour. The red fruit is about 7mm in diameter. The roasted seed is an excellent coffee substitute.

Description of the plant:


3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Shady mountain gullies in moister forests to the montane zone.

Other uses of Native Currant:

A yellow dye is obtained from the wood, it does not require a mordant.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - probably best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse or cold frame. Sow stored seed in spring in a cold frame. Germination can be slow, often taking more than 12 months even when fresh seed is used. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots. Grow on the plants for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Give the plants some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, autumn in a frame.

Cultivation of Native Currant:

Shady mountain gullies in moister forests to the montane zone.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Coprosma billardieri:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.