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Plant Profile: No 9 Koru

No 9 Koru - Understanding

Colensoa physaloides

Found Where Kauri Once Stood


Koru or ‘Oru’ as it is also known is an erect or sprawling shrub that grows up to 1 ½ metres tall. An endemic species to New Zealand, it is now on the nationally threatened plant list due to grazing cattle and goats and its suseptability to slugs and snails. Koru is found in coastal and lowland areas along streams, eastern Great Barrier Island and other off-shore islands north of Whangarei. It tends to be found in areas that were formerly home to large stands of majestic kauri trees.

Venus' Looking Glass

Koru is a member of the Bellflower family and these flowers are often referred to as Venus’ Looking Glass.


The name Venus’ Looking Glass comes from the classical myth in which Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, lost her magic mirror. This mirror reflected nothing but beauty and would bestow charm and grace upon anyone who looked at it.

One day a simple shepherd boy found it and looking at it became entranced with his own image. Venus sent Cupid down to retrieve the mirror and return it back safetly. Seeing that the boy did not want to give it back, Cupid hastely struck it out of the shepherd boy's hand. The mirror shattered into a thousand pieces and everywhere a piece of it landed, a bellflower sprung up in its place.

Bellflowers are often found with 5 petals, a number sacred to the goddess Venus. Koru’s elongated bell shaped flowers are rich violet to dark blue in colour with whitish-lower lips with flower parts occurring in fives- five stamens, five petals and five sepals. Unique to Koru is the blue, fleshy berries which appear in November through March and contain hundreds of tiny seeds.


Koru’s alternative name ‘Oru’ is the same Maori word which has the meaning of a bog or quagmire and describes something as being bogged down and sluggish. It provides an apt visually descriptive image of the negative personality attitude associated with No 9 Koru of feeling mentally stuck or blocked and being unable or unwilling to change due to apathy and lack of interest.

Koru Deva’s Blessing

I bring the gift of true presence to your journey and quest. Through me you embrace concentration and understanding – finding steadiness and focus of mind.

No 9 Koru is the Understanding essence. It supports the steadiness and depth of mind that brings increased concentration and understanding to learning experiences and situation where knowledge acquisition is needed. It is particularly useful in difficult or lengthy studies or where research and careful dissemination of information is required.

No 9 Koru is helpful when needing to leave the past behind and change habitual behaviour patterns. It is useful for recurring problems of the same type or physical illnesses that appear regularly without any apparent reason.

Negative Condition:

Mental blocks; repeats mistakes; poor or slow learner; can’t concentrate; feels mentally inferior or misunderstood; mentally stuck; mental tiredness; forgetful; lack of co-ordination; afraid of saying the wrong thing; difficulty retaining information; absent-minded.

Positive Potential:

Concentration; mental discipline and organisation; learns from experience; secure within own unique mode of learning/communicating; attention is focussed on the present.

This article contains extracts from The Sacred Plant Medicine of Aotearoa Volume 1 by Franchelle Ofsoské-Wyber.