Summer’s white flowers

Last weekend – and thankfully it was last weekend with torrential rain this weekend – we took a trip into the foothills of the Kaimai Range, partly so the Vege Grower could have a site meeting for a project he’s volunteering on and partly to visit farming friends we haven’t seen for far too long.

The site meeting was held in an informal carpark off the dusty road and I parked the car so I could sit in shade while the meeting took place in the open. I was actually thinking about the gorse flowering in front of me and the blackberry when I realised what was blooming in the background, clinging on to a ponga. White rata!

White rata (akatea, Metrosideros perforata). Photo: Sandra Simpson
Photo: Sandra Simpson

White rata, which germinates on the ground, climbs trees with its fine clasping roots. Once the plant reaches the canopy it branches out and becomies bushy. The trunk thickens, the roots break away from the tree and the vine can hang off the tree. White rata can be a bushy shrub when a tree is not available to climb. Read more here.

Our friends took us for a ride around their property which is farmed with guardianship principles in front and centre. We’d stopped to look at a trial of regenerative pasture, but I was just as interested in a piece of fenced off native bush on the other side for there was white rata flowering all over the place.

Our hostess said it was a common plant hereabouts and she also got a kick out of seeing its prolific white flowers in summer.

Read an earlier post about white rata.

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