One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tall New Zealand forest tree, Laurelia novae-zelandiae (family Monimiaceae), which has glossy aromatic leaves and small racemes of tiny yellowish flowers and is noted for having plank buttresses at its base. Also: the tough pale brown wood of this tree, used for boatbuilding and furniture.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in New Zealand Journal. From Maori pukatea.
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