No. 2. Panax longissimum, Hook., fil.
A small tree, 20–25 feet high. Stem, 8–12 inches in diameter; bark, dirty whitish brown; branches usually collected on top of the long bare stem, in an umbellate manner. Leaves in young plants under fifteen years old, 1–5 foliolate, very coriaceous and stiff, reflected downwards, 12–24 inches long, ½–1 inch broad, linear, tapering to a point, and narrowed at bottom into a short, stout, exstipulate petiole, distantly serrate, serratures often cuspidate, very irregular both in distance and size, often large or scarcely visible, green, or dark purplish-green, with sometimes pale green spots on serrations, mid-rib stout, reddish. Leaves of older plants erect, 5–10 inches long, 1–2 inches broad, oblong, or linear acuminate, with small cuspidate serrations, or nearly entire, narrowed at bottom into a short, stout, exstipulate petiole. Umbels unisexual, terminal, thrice compound, wide-spreading, peduncles 2–3 inches long, pedicels 1 inch, bracts small, sometimes racemose above. Flowers rather large. Fruit small, globose,
1 ½ tenths inch diameter. Cells 4. Styles 4, connate into a cone, with their summits free, but scarcely recurved.
Common throughout the islands. The trifoliate state of the young leaves is rare at Dunedin, as also at Wellington, but common in Auckland and Canterbury Districts.
This species may be distinguished from Panax crassifolium by the long linear leaves of the young plant, more or less serrate, the thrice compound wide-spreading umbels, and the small 4-celled fruit.
Much difficulty has been experienced by local collectors in discriminating between the present species and Panax crassifolium, in consequence of absence of a full description of P. longissimum in the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora;” and, as this difficulty can be easiest remedied in the Bush, the present attempt—the result of observations made there—is offered for that purpose.