Copy a link to this page Cite this record

Pseudowintera axillaris. Horopito. Lowland pepper tree.

Name document

Click to collapse Previous names Info

Drimys axillaris, Wintera axillaris

Click to collapse Māori names Info

HOROPITOpuhikawa (Williams 1971

Fruit: matou (so-called by Arawa; Best 1907. Also Williams 1971)

Click to collapse Common names Info

Click to collapse Medicinal Info

NB - could be referring  to related species P. colorata. See note. 

Leaves bruised, steeped in water. Decoction used for paipai, a skin complaint (Taylor 1870 ; Kerry-Nicholls 1886).

"aromatic and stimulant" Taylor 1870

Bark - substitute for quinine (Kirk, in Taylor 1870). "aromatic and pungent ... the "Winter's Bark" of New Zealand" (Armstrong 1869).

Occasionally used by settlers suffering from diarrhoea (Kirk 1889).

Sap used by bushmen for stomach ache (Goldie 1904 ; Best 1906, 1907).

Leaves - decoction called "bushman's painkiller". Chewed for toothache. Rubbed on breast when weaning infants - gives bitter taste (Best 1907, 1929 ; Adams 1945)

Excellent astringent and stimulating properties; anti-scorbutic (Faulkner 1958).

Leaves - infusion for chest ailments. A tablespoon is difficult to swallow, leaves burning sensation in throat and chest (Collier 1959).

For related pharmacology, see Brooker, Cambie and Cooper, 1987.

Click to collapse Chemistry Info

Essential oils ; 29 compounds isolated that correspond with those found in P. colorata ( Briggs et al, 1975).

Brooker, Cambie and Cooper, 1987 state that a decoction of the leaves strongly desensitises humans to sweet and possibly bitter taste sensations without affecting sensitivity to salty and sour properties.

Click to collapse Notes Info

The name 'horopito' refers to both P.axillaris and the closely related P. colorata. The medicinal notes probably refer to both species. Horopito is perhaps more commonly used these days for P. colorata - which has blotchy coloured leaves,  is more peppery and is more easily recognised.  Both species hybridise.

Click to collapse Related resources Info

Click to collapse Metadata Info

28 May 2007
2 July 2020
Click to go back to the top of the page