Northern Rata, Metrosideros robusta
Location: West Quay
Significance: Uncommon in Hawke's Bay
Northern Rata are very uncommon in Hawke's Bay. This tree was unwittingly included in a planting of Pohutakawa trees along the inner harbour quay in the mid 1950s.
The species are related. They both have leathery leaves and produce a flush of scarlet flowers around December/New Year, which gives the more common Pohutawaka its proud title - the New Zealand Christmas Tree.
Today, the Rata's finer foliage and different growth habit are beginning to distinguish it from the neighbouring Pohutakawa along West Quay. Rata can be found in high rainfall forests throughout the North Island but browsing by possums has reduced its range. Pohutakawa favour a coastal location.
The efforts of Project Crimson are reversing the decline of the 12 Metrosideros species, which includes Rata and Pohutakawa.