The Pohutukawa, New Zealand's Christmas Tree.
by Melanie Barrow | BodhiKai Imagery
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This shot was taken on the coast of the South Island in New Zealand. Where the rocky coastal cliffsides of its northern habitat are particularly barren the pohutukawa grows as a solitary species, perching on seemingly impossible sites with its long trailing roots seeking a foothold amongst the rocks. The leaves of the pohutukawa are thick and tough, a shiny dark green on top and silvery white on their softer undersides. The flowers are well known to most New Zealanders, as the pohutukawa is a popular garden tree in all milder areas of the country. The spectacular dark crimson flowers occur just before Christmas and the flowering period extends well into January. The first settlers used pohutukawa blossom to decorate their homes at Christmas time, regarding it as a New Zealand substitute for holly, and it was they who first applied the now common name of Christmas tree.
© Melanie Barrow | BodhiKai Imagery
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