Herb: New Zealand Laurel

Latin name: Corynocarpus laevigatus

Synonyms: Corynocarpus laevigata

Family: Corynocarpaceae (Karaka Family)

Edible parts of New Zealand Laurel:

Fruit - raw. Sweet and pulpy. One report says that it is poisonous raw, though the writer might have been confused with the seed. Seed - cooked. The seed needs to be soaked in salt water or thoroughly boiled or roasted in order to destroy a deleterious principle. A staple food of the Maoris, it contains a tasteless farinaceous substance. The seed contains about 11% protein and 58% carbohydrate.

Description of the plant:


12 m
(39 feet)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Coastal and lowland forest, south to latitude 44┬░south.

Other uses of New Zealand Laurel:

An insecticide is made from the plant. Wood. The tree trunk is used by the Maoris to make canoes.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.

Cultivation of New Zealand Laurel:

Coastal and lowland forest, south to latitude 44┬░south.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Corynocarpus laevigatus:

The seed is poisonous raw.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.