Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

Knightia excelsa. Rewarewa. Main reference.
FAMILY: Proteaceae Protea family
BOTANICAL NAME: Knightia excelsa
Flowers: rewa (Best 1908). Sometimes used for the tree itself.
COMMON NAME: New Zealand honeysuckle
MEDICINAL: Inner part of the bark styptic, bandaged onto wound. 'I may state that I have myself seen several wounds healed under the above treatment in a surprisingly short space of time' (O'Carroll 1884).
The bark contains beta-sitosterol, a major component of an American proprietary drug used to lower blood cholesterol levels (Brooker, Cambie and Cooper 1987).
FOOD: Honey obtained in former times from blossom. (Best 1942)
DOMESTIC: Ornamentation, picture frames, fence pales (Colenso 1869a)

Among museum artefacts he tested Wallace 1989 found a bowl and a maul made from rewarewa
CONSTRUCTION: Said to be used in Whanganui district for stockades because it does not burn readily. Best says probably palisades, not posts, because the timber decays readily (Best 1927).
CHEMISTRY: Chemical compounds listed in Cambie 1976, with references.
TRADITIONS: Waiapu Māori told Best that in former times an infant's pito was sometimes placed on a rewarewa pod, a charm repeated over it, and placed on the surface of the water. If capsized, indicated evil ; if not, then good fortune (Best 1929)