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Tree Fuchsia

Fuchsia excorticata
Maori name Kotukutuku.  The largest fuchsia in the world, this deciduous forest tree can grow to a height of approx 15m. They are a common feature of regenerating forest and are easily recognised in their native environment by the characteristic appearance of their bark, which peels spontaneously, hanging in red papery strips to show a pale bark underneath.  The purplish-black berries (known as konini) are sweet and juicy, and were used by European settlers to make jam and puddings. They are also beloved by native birds.  The flowers can also be used in salads (use the sepals, which are milder than the petals), and flowers and unopened buds can be dipped in batter and fried. Konini also yield a purple dye and are said to make good ink. Requires shade or part shade and rich moist soil. PB8.

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