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Muehlenbeckia ephedroides Hook. f.

Modern name

Muehlenbeckia ephedroides Hook.f.

A deciduous shrub of prostrate sprawling habit, forming a thicket of slender stems which are rush-like the first year, deeply grooved and without down. Leaves linear to halberd-shaped, 13 to 1 in. long, 116 to 16 in. wide, glabrous, usually inconspicuous or even absent. Flowers small, mostly unisexual, produced from the leaf-axils in short spikes of few-flowered clusters; on the spikes the flowers are predominantly of one sex but often have a few flowers of the other sex mixed with them; they have no beauty. The fruit is black, triangular in cross-section, about 18 in. long, subtended by the persisting, more or less succulent perianth.

Native of the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Perhaps not in cultivation.

var. muricatula (Col.) Cheesem. M. muricatula Col. – A distinct variety once grown by E. A. Bowles at Myddleton House, Waltham Cross, Herts. It differs from the type in its very slender, almost thread-like young shoots, in the smaller leaves (16 to 12 in. long) and in the segments of the perianth becoming membranous in fruit. I saw it in July 1932, bearing a large crop of its three-angled seeds rather like miniature beechnuts, but black. Of interest chiefly to botanists and lovers of curiosities. Allan (Flora of New Zealand, Vol. 1, p. 224) considers that it is a form of the variable M. complexa.



Other species in the genus