Monday, December 13, 2010

New Zealand Christmas Tree - Pohutukawa

Monday, December 13, 2010
oldbearnews editor
I have lived here now for more then 25 years and have never seen a pohutukawa - our very own New Zealand Christmas Tree.  It is by all accounts a special and unique tree.  It is pretty much a coastal tree and likes it's warmer if temperate climate - and is prolific around the Coromandel Peninsular. It has a relative short flowering season - but you can just about rely on the fact that it will be in full bloom by Christmas - whence its stigma as New Zealand's Christmas tree.  Beats a conifer anytime.  Anyhow - there is this Bay in the Coromandel that had its tree in full bloom and Captain Cook on his first visit (i think ) spotted it at Christmas and saw the flowers and gave it this nick name.  Glad he did.  Incidentally THAT tree is still there today some 300 years later - so it has a long life time!  Actually it grows best in poor soil - and some people are regarding them as a bit of a weed - as the root system is very invasive - in search of water!!
So having never seen this - (living in colder Christchurch) we decided to treat ourselves to a weekend away - full well knowing that we take a risk weather wise and blooming wise.  Turns out the flowering process is about 3-4 weeks late this year.  When we where up there we just started seeing the beginning of this. however there was enough to give you the idea what it must look like in full bloom - just M a g n i f i c e n t ! !
Naturally - one had to take pictures and thanks to digital camera I could be somewhat freer with choice of scenery offered - so I snapped happily away.  A coastal 30 min trip took about 2 hours to complete - every turn we had to stop and get snapping. Anyhow below are some of the better pics to see what I mean

Pohutukawa trees in Thames public park

Pohutukawa half way through flowering - love the golden points

Took many shots to get this bee hovering and pollinating

My favourite pic - taken in the town of Coromandel - I name this "New Zealand's star of David". It took ages to get the sunlight shine through the leaves as they kept moving about in the wind!!

Remote campsite at Port Jackson

Magnificent species and almost in full bloom

Typical Pohutukawa flowers

Typical coastal trees on the long winding road around the Coromandel Peninsula. You will see many of them like this

Hmmm - our luncheon spot - totally remote - shingle drive (30 km plus) and no one in sight - 25 degrees - sunshine - flowering Pohutukawa trees - Mamabear present - picnic lunch - strawberries and a bottle of bubbly - ahhhhh what more do you want on a short term holiday ^^

Post lunch - enjoying the sun and water and peacefulness and remoteness

ooops forgot to add = there was this white wedding on the beach and the sand was white - it looked like a fun party.

Then in this bay we stopped for while and we saw a pod of dolphins - who where very friendly and play-full - and not afraid of people - see pic below - they come up real close . . . .

local dolphin checking out the local girls

 bear print

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