Rata, pohutukawa putting on big show

A rata in full bloom in Water St, Dunedin. Photo: Gregor Richardson
A rata in full bloom in Water St, Dunedin. Photo: Gregor Richardson
If you have been struck by the unusually luxuriant flowering of rata and pohutukawa in Dunedin this summer, you are not alone.

Dunedin Botanic Garden team leader and curator Alan Matchett said consistently warm weather had been the key to the best-flowering displays of the two plants in the city for at least 10 years.

Rata were "flowering very, very well".

The two plants "look amazing".

"They certainly are this season. For us in Dunedin it’s been such a consistent period of warm weather."

Last summer’s weather had been very variable, but this year daily temperatures had been consistently 20degC and above.

Rata, which were closely related to the pohutukawa, were blooming in the botanic garden, and he had also seen rata flowering elsewhere in the city, including in St Clair and the edge of the Town Belt, Mr Matchett said.

Two big pohutukawa trees were flowering at the botanic garden as were others elsewhere in the city.

In the past many pohutukawa had not usually flowered in the city until about mid-January, but in some cases the trees had already been flowering last month, including before Christmas.

Pohutukawa can live for up to 1000 years and grow 25m tall.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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