A tree common within the New Zealand garden is the Pohutukawa tree which is native to New Zealand this tree blooms between November and January with a peak around mid to late December giving it the nickname New Zealand’s Christmas tree.
The New Zealand Garden is a section within the Gardens of the World dedicated to our beautiful country. The New Zealand Garden has some of the most amazing views of the lake, either from the lakes edge or from a view point above. The New Zealand garden also sit behind one of the Amphitheaters which makes a great backdrop for garden weddings, birthday parties, picnics, outdoor concerts and other functions.
Many of the trees that have been planted in the New Zealand garden are a great food source for the native bird life and insects which adds to the beauty and sounds of the New Zealand Garden.
Cabbage Tree – Cordyline austalis
The Cabbage tree grows up to 20 meters tall and has a stout trunk with sword like leaves which are clusted at the tips. Branches can grow up to a meter in length. This is a hardy fast growing tree and its fruit is favoured by the New Zealand pigeon and other birds. The Cabbage tree or Cordyline austalis was probably introduced by the Maori into the Chatham Islands and Stewart Island.
The largest known tree with a single trunk is in Pakawau, Golden Bay with an estimate age of 400-500 years old. Maori call the Cabbage tree Ti Kouka and was used as a food source especially in the South Island and particularly in areas other food sources couldn’t grow.
It also provided durable fibre for:
- Anchor ropes
- Fishing line
- Waterproof rain coats, cloaks and sandals
In the Northern Hemisphere with milder climates it is an ornamental tree called a Torquay Palm.
Lance wood tree- Pseudopanax crassifolius
The Lance wood is native to New Zealand and is found throughout the country. Juvenile form lasts 15-20 years and is recognised by stiff leathery leaves with a prominent central rip: about 1cm wide and up to 1m long with irregular teeth all growing downwards. As the tree ages the stem begins to branch producing a bush top with leaves becoming wider, shorter and they lose their teeth, only as the tree mature does it develop a tree shape.
Puriri – Vitex lucens
This is an evergreen tree endemic to New Zealand. Puriri was first collected at Tologa Bay by Banks and Solander during Captain Cook’s first visit to New Zealand in 1769. The Maori name of this tree is Puriri or sometimes Kauere.
The common name in English is usually Puriri although it is called New Zealand Mahogany and New Zealand teak in older printed sources especially in reference to the timber. The Puriri tree can grow up to 20m tall with a truck commonly up to 1.5m in diameter, frequently thicker and a broad spreading crown. The thin bark is usually smooth and light brown in colour but can also be very flaky.
Puriri is one of the few native trees with large colourful flowers. Many plants in New Zealand have white or green flowers. They look rather like snap dragon and can range from fluorescent pink to dark red, rose pink (most common) or sometimes even to a white flower with a yellow or pink blush.
Some flowers can be found on the Puriri all year round, though the Puriri tree flowers most heavily over winter. Ripe fruit can also be found all year round but more heavily over summer. For this reason it is an important food source for native birds especially in the top of the North Island as it provides a year round food supply.
The Maori used infusions from boiled leaves to bathe sprains and backaches as a remedy for ulcers, especially under the ear, and for sore throats. The infusion was also used to wash the body of the deceased to help preserve the body. They are grown in groves and are often Tapu as they are used as in burial sites and Puriri leaves were fashioned in to coronets or carried in the hand during a Tangi.
Rimu – Dacrydium cupressinum
The Rimu is a large evergreen coniferous tree endemic to the forests of New Zealand; it is a member of the southern conifer group, the podocarps. The Rimu tree was formerly named “Red Pine”. The Rimu tree grows throughout New Zealand although the largest concentration is found on the west coast.
The Rimu tree is a slow-growing tree up to 50metres tall although most surviving trees are 20 to 35 metres tall. The Rimu trees lifespan is approximately 800 to 900 years. The Rimu tree has a straight trunk which generally grows 1.5metres in diameter.
The leaves are spirally arranged awl shape up to 7 millimetres long. Seeds are dispersed by native birds which eat the fleshy scale and pass the seed through there stools. The Rimu tree is an important food source particularly the Kakapo, whose breeding cycle has been linked to the cone production cycle of the tree.
The Rimu trees as well as Kauri and Totara trees were a main source of wood in New Zealand. However most of New Zealand original stands of Rimu have been destroyed and recent changes to government polices means there is no more felling in public forests, though the polices do allow limited felling on private land.
The Rimu tree has now been replaced by the Pinus Radiate as the main source of wood; however Rimu is still popular for high quality wooden furniture. There has also been limited recovery of stump and root wood from trees felled many years before, these stumps and roots are used for making bowls and other wood turned objects.
Tōtara – Podocarpus tōtara
The Tōtara tree is a species of podocap tree endemic to New Zealand. The Tōtara grows throughout the North Island and Northeastern South Island in lowland, montane and lower subalpine forest at elevations of up to 600 meters.
The Tōtara tree is a medium to large tree which grows slowly to around 20 to 25 meters. It is noted for its longevity and the great girth of its trunk the bark peels off in papery flakes, with a purplish to golden brown hue. The largest known living Tōtara tree is near Pureora which is in the central North Island New Zealand and is over 35meters tall with a trunk nearly 4 meters in diameter at chest height.
The wood of the Tōtara is hard and straight grained it is very resistant to rot due to it durability. Tōtara wood was often used for fence posts, floor pilings and railway sleepers. The Tōtara wood is also prized for its caving properties and was the primary wood used in Maori carvings.
Tōtara trees have been planted in the United Kingdom as far North as Inverewe Scotland.