Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

Brachyglottis repanda. Rangiora. Main reference.
FAMILY: Asteraceae Daisy family
BOTANICAL NAME: Brachyglottis repanda
MĀORI NAME: RANGIORA, pukapuka, pukerangiora, raurākau, raurēkau, whārangi, whārangi-tawhito, kōuaha (R. H. Matthews quoted in Best 1942), pukariao, aorangi (Norman Potts in a letter to Ruth Mason DSIR 3 June 1941 gave this as a name for Brachyglottis repanda), rangiola (recorded by Solander in 1769 ).
COMMON NAME: rangiora
DESCRIPTION: Taylor 1855 describes pukerangiora as a larger variety of rangiora; 'the leaf is often nearly a foot long by nearly the same breadth: it produces resin'.
Taylor 1855 gives the name rangiora for Melicope ternata, and pukerangiora for Melicope simplex. Descriptions of Melicope and Brachyglottis species appear confused by Taylor. These names for Melicope are not supported by others (eg Best, Williams, Beever or modern Maori dictionaries)
MEDICINAL: Leaves applied to old sores but do not appear to have any particular effect (Kirk, in Taylor 1870).
Used for wounds and old ulcerated sores (Colenso 1869a).
Aromatic gum - bad breath (Brett's Guide 1883; Goldie 1905).
Leaves bruised or mashed and mixed with olive oil and used as a poultice on boils (S. Neil 1941).
Rotorua Māori used resin as masticatory (Best 1942).
FOOD: Leaves used to line small flax baskets to hold sifted pua (raupō pollen) (Taylor 1855). Leaves used to wrap up hīnau cakes for steaming. Also used to wrap aruhe meal. (Best 1942). Eels sometimes wrapped in rangiora leaves for cooking.
DOMESTIC: When the natives first saw paper, they compared it to these leaves, and hence both it and books in general are called puka puka (Taylor 1855)

Among museum artefacts he tested Wallace 1989 found a fernroot beater made of rangiora.
FISHING AND HUNTING: Kōuaha gum gathered, preserved in paua shells, rubbed on seizing of hooks to preserve them. Also prevented shank from rusting (Matthews 1911).
CHEMISTRY: Chemical constituents in Cambie 1976, with references.
TOXINS: Leaves poisonous to stock. Honey poisonous (Aston 1923a).
'The best treatment for a horse (if he be not too far gone with the poison) is to saddle up and run him for a couple of hours hard, and the effects of the poison will work out.' (O'Carroll 1884)
Matthews, quoted in Best 1942, stated that gum is poisonous. Best suggests it may have been subject to a purification process before being used.
Toxin is especially concentrated in the growing tips (Connor 1977).
PASTIME: Used in game called topa, koke or niu (Best 1925 p.167).
SCENT: Gum obtained through incisions in bark - put in oil, heated for scent. For making pomades, etc. (Best 1942).