Tag Archives: Pohutukawa trees

Yes, we can do that in yellow too, M’am.

Pohutukawa trees are beginning to burst into flower here. They are fickle trees with their unpredictable timing, although they are generally in flower at Christmas time in New Zealand and are known as The New Zealand Christmas tree. (Metrosideros excelsa) It is not uncommon, however, to see some trees in full or partial bloom at other times during the year.
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They are very individual in their flowering with a common sight being one or two trees in full bloom while others nearby remain in bud. It is also not uncommon to see an area of a large tree in full bloom while the remainder of the tree is simply leafy.
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Fire engine red is the most common colour, but there are other shades of red on offer as well as a more orange toned flower.
This season we have been noticing that the yellow ones have flowered earlier and with great abundance. I particularly like their Latin name: Metrosideros excelsa “aurea”
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Many stories circulate about the Pohutukawa and its flowers and how good or indifferent our summer might be according to the cycle of these trees. So far, summer has been very absent where I live so I am not hazarding even a guess about the yellow flowering varieties and what that might mean. Today the sky is finally clear blue, the sun is beating down and it is hot.
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Currently we are taking such a day as a real bonus and really hoping for more of the same.

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Friday Flower

New Zealand Pohutukawa Tree (Metrosideros Excelsa) bursting into flower. It is a member of the myrtle family and grows very well in our harsh coastal conditions. Tui and other nectar feeding birds enjoy the flowers’ nectar.
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When the Pohutukawa flowers it is said to mean that it is summer in New Zealand….mmmm we are waiting for that currently and that it is Christmas time…..well that is very correct.

“When you grow up you will get your white wattle feathers,” said the mother Tui.

I have been reading up on New Zealand Birds in the past few weeks. I learnt that young Tuis do not have their distinctive white wattle until they are around 6 weeks old.

Early European settlers called our Tuis “The Parson Bird” because the white wattle feathers at the throat look like the white collar often worn by ministers of religion.

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I see plenty of mature Tuis wearing their lovely wattles, their feathers gleaming black and iridescent greeny blue colours.

But I was full of delight on Monday night when I spotted this young one (around 3-6 weeks of age) resting quietly in a Pohutukawa tree, rather nicely camouflaged and without his white wattle or fine feathers. His or her dull colouring certainly assist it to remain hidden from danger. If you click on the photos and enlarge them you can see more detail:-)

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New Zealand Christmas trees

The Pohutukawa is known as the New Zealand Christmas tree because it flowers around Christmas time and it has bright red flowers against green foliage.

There are various comments made about the flowering period. It is said that if the Pohutukawa flower early then it means a long, hot summer.

This year the Pohutukawa in my area are flowering abundantly right now. Everywhere I look there are trees bursting with red flowers, while some have a pink toning and yet others flower with yellow flowers. It is the brilliant red ones that are so striking.

Pohutukawa trees grow particularly well in New Zealand, especially near beaches but also in urban gardens, parks and road sides. Our native birds love the nectar in the flowers, the honey bees adore them and I learnt last night that Monarch butterflies feast on these flowers. Nature meets many needs at the same time putting on a magnificent display for us to enjoy.

On Saturday I took some photos of Pohutukawa. I hope you enjoy them.

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