The divaricating branching system is an iconic feature of many New Zealand native plants and is characterised by tight branching and small leaves. Some plants such as Matai, Ribbonwood and Putaputaweta have a divaricating juvenile phase that gives way to an adult form at maturity. Other species are divaricating throughout their life.
Whilst many divaricating plants end up looking quite similar in habit they belong to many unrelated plant groups such as Carmichaelia, Coprosma, Corokia, Melicytus, Muehlenbeckia, Myrsine, Olearia, Pittosporum and Sophora.
Most of these plants come from exposed habitats with poor well drained soils and are typically quite small in size. This makes them ideal plants for urban low maintenance gardens, particularly where drought might be an issue during summer. Many are also tolerant of coastal conditions and their unusual architecture helps create stunning gardens with a difference.