Coastal evergreen, endemic to New Zealand.
Pōhutukawa trees are found around the northern coastlines of the North Island. They are often gnarled and complex in form, clinging to coastal cliffs.
They have an iconic status, with many New Zealanders regarding them as symbols of home and summer holidays – especially when kahika, their bright red flowers come out at Christmas time.
The dark red pōhutukawa wood is immensely strong, and was used to make stems and knees in boatbuilding – even bearings and machine beds. Māori made tea from inner bark to treat diarrhoea.
Native birds, bats, bees and geckos feed in the flowers. Trees in the wild are threatened by introduced possums, which eat the leaves.