Metrosideros excelsa, commonly known as pōhutukawa, New Zealand Christmas tree, New Zealand Christmas bush, and iron tree, is a coastal evergreen tree in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, that produces a brilliant display of red flowers, each consisting of a mass of stamens. Wikipedia
When I visited New Zealand for the first time in 2007 the Pohutukawa trees were in full bloom! I absolutly adore these trees!
Pohutukawa, with its striking red flowers, is an important symbol for all New Zealanders. In Maori mythology, its flowers are said to represent the blood of a young warrior who perished while trying to avenge his father’s death. The Maori also used the flowering of Pohutukawa trees as a seasonal indicator, and when Christian settlers arrived in New Zealand, the blossoming of this species’ bright red flowers in December and January inspired its alternative common name of the New Zealand Christmas tree. Pohutukawa often features on festive greetings cards, poems and stories. As well as a cultural symbol, the species has several practical uses. Its hard strong timber was used for ship-building, and parts of the tree were also used medicinally by the Maori.
Pohutukawa grows in coastal forests on New Zealand’s North Island, where its thick, twisted roots help it to grow on the cliffs. These trees withstand strong southern ocean winds, salt spray and drought, and can live for up to 1000 years. They also provide shelter and erosion control, vital ecosystem services in this exposed region.