It Janurary 2009 and the Rata starting to come out.  Everywhere it the white Rata.  Orange Rata is just coming into flower and the Red Rata due very soon.    It also been a few years but we also hopping to some yellow Rata.




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The leaves of Northern rātā have a distinct notch at the tip

Northern rātā is found in the North Island from Te Paki in the north to Wellington in the south. Formerly widespread, it is now uncommon over large parts of its former range, and is no longer found in Hawkes Bay. In the South Island, Northern rātā is common from Nelson to Greymouth and Hokitika. It reaches its southern limit near Lake Mahinapua at 42°4′ South latitude. The natural habitat is forest along the coasts and in the lowlands. In some parts of its range Northern rātā occurs in montane forest. Formerly, with rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum) it was a dominant tree in a forest type known as rimu/rātā forest.

[edit] Description

Rātā flowers at Mt Maungatautari

Northern rātā is a massive tree, easily distinguished from other Metrosideros species by its small, leathery, dark green leaves which are 25-50mm long by 15-25mm wide, and have a distinct notch at the tip. Young growth is generally pink and covered in fine rust-coloured hairs that are gradually shed as the foliage ages but tends to persist at the midrib and in the vicinity of the leaf base. The flowers, borne in sprays on the tips of branches, are a mass of dark scarlet stamens. Flowering peaks between November and January, and seeds take a year or slightly more to ripen. The bark is usually brown or grey-brown and rather corky and provides an ideal stratum for the roots of epiphytic plants such as Astelia species and Freycinetia banksii (kiekie). The wood is reddish brown, and the manner of its growth results in a twisted grain.