They are shrubs or trees; some are endemic to New Zealand. Most of the plant parts are poisonous, containing the neurotoxin tutin and its derivative hyenanchin.
Honey containing tutin can be produced by bees feeding on honeydew produced by sap-sucking vine hopper insects (Scolypopa genus) feeding on tutu. The last recorded deaths from eating honey containing tutin were in the 1890s, although sporadic outbreaks of toxic honey poisoning continue to occur. Poisoning symptoms include delirium, vomiting, and coma.
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