Once again karaka trees are fruiting in Kāpiti and causing concern for residents with council telling parents to keep an eye on their children and animals.

The area in concern is outside the Kāpiti Coast District Council buildings with Kapiti Primary School right around the corner and berries falling onto the school's field.

The native trees, distinguishable by their thick, dark leaves, growing up to 15 metres tall, produce a bright orange fruit which ripen throughout the warmer months.

The kernels in the fruit contain the alkaloid poison karakin, which is very toxic if ingested by your dog and residents are concerned it will also be toxic for young children.

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Karaka trees outside Paraparaumu Library, next to Kapiti Primary School field. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Karaka trees outside Paraparaumu Library, next to Kapiti Primary School field. Photo / Rosalie Willis

The trees were planted 20 years ago as part of the landscaping for the Paraparaumu Library.

In the past council has gone and picked the berries off the trees and surrounding area and the karaka trees that aligned the footpath outside the Paraparaumu Library were removed and replaced last year with rewarewa.

"We have removed and replaced all the karaka trees which aligned the footpath outside the Paraparaumu Library, however some mature trees can be found along the road berm outside Kapiti Primary School," senior parks officer Monique Engelen said.

"As with any public space and reserve, we recommend parents keep an eye on their kids and teach them not to ingest native fruits that are the foods for our larger native birds, and walkers to keep their dogs on lead in public spaces in keeping with our bylaws."

The trees' berries are a staple food source for the native kereru and will be fruiting until around April.

The berry kernels remains toxic for a long time, so dogs can be poisoned by eating a previous year's fruit.

Initial signs of karaka berry poisoning are nausea, diarrhoea and restlessness which quickly progress to more severe gastrointestinal and neurological issues but symptoms can be delayed by a day or two.