Pukekura Park - its ecology and history - Friends of Pukekura Park New Plymouth Inc.


Himalayan Dogwood - a food source for birds

 

The Himalayan Dogwood (Cornus capitata: Family Cornaceae) is a hardy, small to medium-sized evergreen tree, native to the Himalaya region. Its fruits, which are borne in great profusion, generally begin to ripen in early autumn. They are round and strawberry-like, hence the frequently-used alternative common name of Strawberry Tree for this plant. The fruits are green at first, becoming a deep orange-red when mature.

 

The Himalayan Dogwood was well-established in Pukekura Park by at least 1925 (Taranaki Herald 19 September 1925). Many still grow throughout the Park, and have ripe fruits now (April – May). These fruits are a principal and valuable food for a variety of birds, both native and introduced, in autumn-early winter (see: Himalayan Dogwoods as a Food Source for Birds). Himalayan Dogwoods have long been recognized as a seasonal source of food for birds in the Park. They are often referred to in that regard in “Out in the Park” articles which appeared weekly in the Daily News of New Plymouth from November 1964 until at least the end of January 1980.

David Medway

May 2008


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