The rewarewa, Knightia excelsa, (New Zealand honeysuckle) are lit up like Christmas trees this year, smothered in red flowers and tui and korimako and other nectar loving birds are gorging themselves. A tall slender tree, they stand out on the ridges and seedlings smother open ground in light wells.
Flower in bud
The flowers are large. One makes a handful.
I remember 5 or 6 years ago, the rewarewa didn’t flower at all. The birds must have suffered and it’s likely a poor breeding season followed. It’s not uncommon for species to miss a flowering. This year there are no clematis flowers. I wonder why.
“Pioneer Europeans saw the decorative properties of rewarewa wood and used it in inlay and marquetry work. However, the timber was also used in bush tramways, brake blocks, and fence battens (Hinds & Reid 1957). Its common name is New Zealand honeysuckle, which refers to the timber’s decorative properties. It was, however, also called the ‘Bucket of Water’ tree as it is useless for firewood.”