Skip to main content
Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Whau (Entelia arborescens) is a small tree with darkbrown bark. This is the only species in a genus of Tiliaceae or Linden family, and it is confined to New Zealand. The leaves are large, very broad with a sharp point, roughly serrated at the edges and covered with stellate hairs. Small creamy-white flowers, with numerous stamens, are borne in cymose clusters. The fruit is a globose capsule, brownish-grey in colour, and densely covered with long bristles. It contains large white seeds.

This tree is found mainly in coastal regions but shows great diversity of form and habit. It has been grown as an ornamental tree in large gardens. The wood is very light in weight and was used by the Maoris as floats for their fishing nets.

by Olive Rita Croker, M.A., Botanist, Wellington.


Olive Rita Croker, M.A., Botanist, Wellington.