Koromiko

Maori Name: Koromiko
Common Name: Koromiko
Botanical Name: Hebe stricta

What does it look like?
Koromiko is a 2-3 metre tall shrub with the classic arrangement of Hebe leaves in alternating opposite pairs. The yellow-green leaves are dull not glossy and  are 5-10cm long x 2 cm wide, with smooth edges ending in a sharp point. The myriad tiny mauve/white flowers are arranged in a spike rather longer than the leaves and produced near the growing tip to display clearly above the foliage. Some find them strongly scented and certainly butterflies love them as well as bees.

Where does it grow?
Koromiko is found throughout the North Island.  It is a fast growing shrub, easily established and prefers open habitats, on the edge of bush and wetlands.

Seed Collection and propagation
Koromiko flowers in August although it can flower sporadically throughout the year.  At 1-2 years it produces large numbers of tiny windborne seeds from November.
The dried seed heads produce a prolific number of seeds which can be sown by shaking the seed heads over a container of potting mix.

Growing tips … in your plant growing unit or shade house
Koromiko does not tolerate shade.

Planting out for soil conservation
It is a pioneer plant useful to plant as a nursery crop for revegetation planting.

Used to …
Koromiko leaves are used in rituals by the tohunga to ensure a good crop of kumara and the tips of shoots can be chewed to alleviate hunger. Diarrhoea and dysentery are treated by eating the fresh young leaves and young shoots or drinking a liquid in which they were boiled.

Did you know … ?
The species name Hebe came from Hebe the daughter of Hera and Zeus,  cupbearer of the gods and the goddess of youth.