Plant Library

New Zealand Laurel

Corynocarpus laevigata

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New Zealand Laurel (Corynocarpus laevigata) at Green Thumb Nursery

New Zealand Laurel

New Zealand Laurel

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

New Zealand Laurel (Corynocarpus laevigata) at Green Thumb Nursery

New Zealand Laurel foliage

New Zealand Laurel foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  30 feet

Spread:  20 feet

Sunlight:  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  8b

Other Names:  Karaka


This is a slow growing upright evergreen tree that is densely covered with large, luxurious deep green glossy leaves; small cream flowers are followed by orange berries that are poisonous to consume; a great plant for screening in a shaded area

Ornamental Features

New Zealand Laurel has masses of beautiful panicles of creamy white flowers rising above the foliage in mid spring, which are most effective when planted in groupings. It has dark green evergreen foliage. The glossy oval leaves remain dark green throughout the winter. It produces orange berries in mid summer.

Landscape Attributes

New Zealand Laurel is an evergreen tree with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and usually looks its best without pruning, although it will tolerate pruning. It has no significant negative characteristics.

New Zealand Laurel is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Vertical Accent
  • Hedges/Screening

Planting & Growing

New Zealand Laurel will grow to be about 30 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 4 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This tree does best in partial shade to full shade. Keep it well away from hot, dry locations that receive direct afternoon sun or which get reflected sunlight, such as against the south side of a white wall. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It may require supplemental watering during periods of drought or extended heat. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Articulation  Screening 
Flowers  Fruit 
Ornamental Features