Monday, January 5, 2015

A Touch of Crimson

While the Pohutukawa is often regarded as NZ's Christmas tree with its red flowers, there is also the Rata.

Recently, in the Karamea area (West Coast of the South Island), we saw a mixture of flowering Northern and Southern Rata.  Seeing the large splashes of brilliant crimson on the hills was amazing - especially when the NZ forest is mostly green.

Unlike most trees the Northern Rata usually starts as an epiphyte (a perching plant).  We'd spend awhile looking for the original 'tree' which was often a very dead tree! 

After being away from Wellington for a couple of weeks it was great seeing large numbers of Pohutukawa in flower - on the hills, in parks, gardens and along the streets.
outside Te Papa

                         Must keep the street cleaners busy ...
red gutters
While Pohutukawa does seem common, Project Crimson is an organisation focused on ensuring the survival of Pohutukawa and Rata.  Their mission is 'Enabling pohutukawa and rata to flourish again in their natural habitat, as icons in the hearts and minds of all New Zealanders'.  Their website has plenty of information about Pohutukawa and Rata, including trails in various areas. 

And for something a little different we spotted a Yellow Pohutukawa in a garden near Granity.
Yellow Pohutukawa


1 comment:

Mystic Quilter said...

I guess we all concentrate on the Pohutukawa and forget the poor old Rata! Didn't know there was a yellow Pohutukawa.