New Zealand Plants and their Story
The Flowers of the Forest
The Flowers of the Forest.
New Zealand forests are not distinguished for their brilliant flowers. On the contrary, most of our forest blossoms are inconspicuous and of a dull colour. But there are some notable exceptions. The northern and southern ratas (Metrosideros robusta and M. lucida) bear multitudes of crimson blossoms. The yellow kowhai (Sophora grandiflora and S. microphylla) has been fitly termed the New Zealand laburnum. The various species of trees known as lacebark (Hoheria, populnea, H. sexstylosa, and H. angustifolia) are, in their season, dense masses of snowy flowers. Pennantia corymbosa (the kaikomako) vies in its purity with any bridal flower. The putaputaweta (Carpodetus serratus) is a rival of the English may. The tawiri (Ixerba brexioides) of the Auckland upland forest is so showy that the Maoris had a special name, "whakou," for its blooms. The tree-manuka (Leptospermum ericoides), with its multitude of white or pinkish flowers, quite equals the popular Spiraea Thunbergi of gardens.
The heketara (Olearia Cunninghamii) produces multitudes of daisylike flowers in the spring. The wineberry (Aristotelia racemosa, mako-page 38mako) has distinctly pleasing rosy-coloured flowers. The hinau (Elaeocarpus dentatus) has numerous white drooping flowers. The large-flowered clematis (Clematis indivisa, puawhananga) is esteemed by all, and its snowy blossoms are frequently torn from their forest home only to wither.