Forest 89 - Toothed Lancewood

Pseudopanax ferox

Mature Pseudopanax ferox trees. Photo not from the Arboretum Young toothed lancewood, Pseudopanax ferox growing in Auckland Botanical Gardens

Other common names

Fierce lancewood; Maori: horoeka.

Origin of the species name

Pseudopanax from Greek meaning false Panax, the genus is resembles; feroxis Latin meaning fierce or wild looking.



Date planted

October 2011



Pseudopanax ferox leaves. Photo not from the Arboretum

General description

This is a small evergreen tree having a rounded crown only when mature. Until it is about 10-15 years old, it consists of a single trunk with long, downward pointing juvenile leaves. The juvenile leaves are up to 40 cm long, are very dark grey-brown to grey-green becoming shorter, wider and dark green with maturity. The mature trunk has distinctive longitudinal grooves which sometimes are slightly twisted. Height 6m Spread 3m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is endemic to New Zealand where it grows in scrub and low forest from consolidated coastal sand dunes to subalpine cliff faces (10-800 m altitude).

Conservation status

It is classified as a near-threatened species and is the rarest of the three Pseudopanax species. It is frequently eaten by feral animals such as possums, deer and goats. it is considered to be rare.

Planting pattern

Planted in a Maori pattern, with a square grid on an angle and a zig zag pathway down the centre.


Maoris used the juvenile stems for spears and made paint brushes from fibres within the leaves. Its primary use is in horticulture.