Whatever the weather’s doing, summer has arrived when the pohutukawa come into flower.
I noticed the yellow pohutukawa trees (Metrosideros excelsa Aurea) out along Cameron Rd a week or so ago, well ahead of the red ones, which at Fraser Cove last Wednesday night didn’t even look like they were in bud. So I had a nice surprise today when I saw that they too had started to flower.
The yellow flowers aren’t very exciting, except as a botanical curiosity. Native to Motiti Island off the coast of Tauranga, they still aren’t seen much, although I have noticed a couple in private gardens around the city in the past week or so and last year was directed to a large tree in the grounds of the church opposite Otumoetai Primary School.
This article says the tree was first discovered by a Mr Potts – the correct date is more like to be 1940 (rather than 1840 as the first reference has it).
The red-flowered trees are certainly more striking and with the trees flowering round about Christmas, they remain ever popular. Naturally, the tree’s southern range is about from New Plymouth to Gisborne but, thanks to Project Crimson and our love of the flowers, they can now be seen growing all around the country, including as far south as Otago Harbour.
The newer varieties are more reliable flowerers – some of the old trees flower in sections or have one good year and one not so good – and the trees in the Fraser Cove carpark have been chosen not only for their good flowering but also for their upright shape.
Metrosideros excelsa Maori Princess is generally a single-trunked tree, all of them descended from a single tree in New Plymouth.
The next neat thing that will happen along the city end of Cameron Rd is the jacarandas coming into flower …
(I’ve never got a decent photo of one, but have it on my to-do list this season, so keep watching).