Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

Pouteria costata. Tawāpou.
FAMILY: Sapotaceae Sapodilla family
BOTANICAL NAME: Pouteria costata
PREVIOUS NAMES: Sapota costata ; Planchonella novo-zelandica; Planchonella costata
MĀORI NAME: TAWĀPOU, pou (Great Barrier; Kirk 1889), orewa (all in Williams 1971), pau (Conservator of State Forests 1877).
MEDICINAL: The astringent bark and diuretic seeds could be valuable in medicine (Colenso 1869a)
Oily substance obtained from boiling the flesh of the berries for three hours applied to sprains and bruises. Said to lower blood pressure and clear bruised blood. (Cranwell 1941. Quoted in Brooker, Cambie and Cooper 1987 ) Related pharmacology in ibid.
See Riley 1994 for information on medicinal uses of related plants elsewhere in the world.
FOOD: Pulp of fruit eaten (Kirk, in Taylor 1870)
DOMESTIC: Hard, bony seeds formerly used by the Māori for necklaces (Kirk, in Taylor 1870, 1889 ; Cheeseman 1925).
See also Fyfe 1998
Among museum artefacts he tested Wallace 1989 found a maul made of tawāpou.
CHEMISTRY: Triterpenes in wood (Cambie and Parnell 1969)