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New Zealand’s Christmas tree is better than you think

December 24, 2009

In fact it comes with vibrant nectar containing red flowers, gnarly branches, a crooked trunk and a beautiful Maori name — Pohutakawa.

Around the middle of December once the summer sun’s heat intensifies, the native Pohutakawa begins to flower around the North Island coastline. When the timing is right, the tree fully blooms at Christmas time.

by Cate

If you travel through the South Island, you won’t find this species, it’s a heat loving salt thriving tree only found in the North. Bees love it for its sweet nector and beekeepers for its rich honey. It has to be my favourite honey.

by Cate

by Cate

There was a time when the Pohutakawa was put on the endangered list. I can’t say whether it still is but given the amount of trees I’ve seen around old and new, I’m inclined to think not.

by Cate

Happy Christmas, Hanukka, and whatever festive occassion you and your family and friends celebrate.

Caffeinated Traveller

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8 Comments
  1. Bear permalink
    December 24, 2009 9:42 am

    A spectacular plant to say the least. Aside from coffee, tea and cheese varieties you now have me thinking of honey varieties. Some of the reasons that make travel so rewarding. Thanks.

  2. December 25, 2009 1:21 pm

    Cate – how beautiful! Thanks for teaching me something new πŸ™‚ Safe travels!

  3. December 29, 2009 9:59 am

    If possible, I would like to have this tree as part of my Chinese New Year decoration!!!

  4. December 31, 2009 3:47 pm

    Gorgeous! It makes me wonder about Christmas flora. There’s the Poinsettia of course but I’m not that fond of it. And in Australia, we have Christmas bells (native flowers) and Christmas bush (native bush with small flowers) and Christmas beetles (which get an irridescent shine to their shell around December).

  5. December 31, 2009 3:48 pm

    (Obviously the beetle is fauna rather than flora).

  6. January 2, 2010 12:32 pm

    Wow! I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m glad to hear that it doesn’t seem to be on the endangered list any more. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos!

  7. January 3, 2010 4:02 pm

    What beautiful festive colours, even if the sun’s shining.

  8. January 4, 2010 7:56 pm

    Rainfield – I would like to send you some of these flowers, or maybe you could come over and pick some πŸ™‚

    Caitlin – I’m going to check out the Christmas bell after this, but the beetles, now that is worth flying to Australia and seeing in person.

    Heather, Sarah, Laura and Bear – thanks for your comments πŸ™‚

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