Common Name: Pohutukawa – Maori Princess
Scientific Name: Metrosideros excelsa
Height at Maturity: 10m
Time to Maturity: 10-15 years
Growth Rate: slow/medium
Habitat/Description: The Maori Princes cultivar is a more upright, shorter and has a narrower canopy than a Pohutukawa. A relatively hardy tree, it can take poor soil conditions, and prefers warm coastal environment. After a few years it can begin to take a light frost.
Domesticated Uses: As it is less prone to growing aerial roots and as such, has seen adoption as a street tree. It is also useful as a specimen tree, hedging and screening or pleached hedging.
Medicinal Uses: Historically, the inner bark has been used as an infusion for diarrhoea, strapped against open wounds to slow bleeding and chewed as a treatment for thrush. As the nectar is quite sweet, it was collected as a sweetener for food, and as a treatment for a sore throat.
Forest Uses: great for coastal erosion, seems to enjoy kauri and podocarp forest types
Flowering: From November to February, but most vibrant over the Christmas period.
Fruiting/Nectar: March – April
Birds Life: Many birds including the Kaka, Tui and Bellbirds feed on the nectar, as well as geckos and the native bat.
Planting Instructions: Dig the whole twice as wide as the pot is deep. Remove tree from the pot and loosen the roots up is they are tangles. Place in the hole band back fill leaving a ring of higher dirt to capture rainfall. Ensure ample watering once planted. Mulching around the trunk can help a lot. You could consider a mulching mat, or use bark, pea straw etc. Plant after the last frost!