Evergreen, endemic to New Zealand.
Kōwhai flowers are a favourite of many nectar-feeding birds, including tūīs.
The tree can be semi-deciduous after flowering in October-November, but new leaves appear again quickly. There are eight species of kōwhai endemic to New Zealand, and kōwhai is our unofficial national flower. The trees can grow to 25m tall.
Kōwhai became one of the first New Zealand trees shown in English plant catalogues, as early as 1783.
Parts of kōwhai trees have medicinal uses to treat bruising or muscle pain.
The wood is very tough and elastic, used for tool handles, and can be bent into tight semi-circles.