Monday, 21 May 2018

Autumn Nature Walk - a splendid kohekohe year

Kohekohe flowers
Cascades of blooms signal a splendid flowering year for the kohekohe. It's time to get out into our lowland coastal forests and enjoy the flowers and marvel at their abundance. They are already flowering now and should go on flowering through into June.


Kohekohe flowers sprout straight out of the
trunk, when trees flower like this it is called cauliflory 
It takes 15 months to develop seeds, so kohekohe tend to flower strongly one year and not the next. There may be other factors too that affect the quantity of flowers, such as the weather. Whatever the reason, this is the year to get out and take a look.
Flowers dripping from a tree trunk in Raroa Reserve
Kohekohe often creates a forest where few other trees grow. It forms a thick canopy which lets in little light. Under this dense canopy the flowers seem to glow and the air is thick with scent. The tui and korimako (bellbird) stake their claims to the flowers in a splendid chorus too.
Under the dark canopy bunches of kohekohe
flowers hang from the tree, Hemi Matenga
Kohekohe benefit from local trapping of rats, mice and possums, as these pests eat there flowers and fruits.

Where to see kohekohe in the Wellington region
Kohekohe is a coastal tree, so the best places to see them flowering is along the coast.
Most of these photos were taken last week at Hemi Matenga Scenic Reserve in Waikanae, where we walked the Te Au track. The kohekohe is on the lower and middle slopes, so if you are there just to see the kohekohe, walking the Parata or Kohekohe Walk tracks would be enough. There is no kohekohe on the top ridge. https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/wellington-kapiti/places/waikanae-area/things-to-do/te-au-track/

Other top spots include:
Kohekohe loop track, Paekakariki http://tracks.org.nz/track/show/1359
Raroa Reserve, Pukerua Bay http://tracks.org.nz/track/show/935
Whareroa Farm, Paekakariki https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/wellington-kapiti/places/whareroa-farm/
Te Ara Utiwai, Porirua https://poriruacity.govt.nz/your-council/news/new-track-on-rangituhi-one-of-new-zealands-best/

Events
Head along to Whareroa Farm on 3 June to celebrate the kohekohe flowering https://www.facebook.com/events/610527085968346/

For more about cauliflory read my new blogpost: Unusual Trees of Aotearoa https://explorediscovernature.blogspot.com/2018/05/unusual-trees-of-aotearoa-cauliflory.html