Blue Pollen! Kōtukutuku colours up

Our tree fuchsias (Fuchsia excorticata, Maori – Kōtukutuku) have just been in flower and it’s another phase in their most unusual life. NZ tree fuchsia are not your well-behaved tub plant – I’ve seen them 12 metres high and nearly a metre diameter. They definitely show better in the south tho’ with our harder, colder winters ensuring good leaf drop and showing off their peeling (exfoliating) bark to full effect. They have other surprises too including blue pollen, copious peeling bark, green under bark and sweet edible fruit.

Kōtukutuku with a hard frost – they really do glow
Summertime in the forest showing the peeling bark – the plants growing up from the tree trunk are the fern Phymatosorus pustulatum
Blue pollen in the springtime – blue seems quite rare with pollen. Later there are small sweet-tasting (Really) purplish fruit. Flowers are complex, and pollination even more so. Tui (bird) are the main pollinator and seed spreader
A young tree fuchsia in full leaf in the garden we had in the Catlins

For further reading a good starting point is

Godley and Berry. 1995 . The biology and systematics of Fuchsia in the South Pacific. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 82 : 473 – 516

4 thoughts on “Blue Pollen! Kōtukutuku colours up

Add yours

  1. Native fuchsia definitely stand out more down south. As far as I’m aware invertebrates play no role in pollination. Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) are the only known pollinator.

  2. I don’t remember these from my time in NZ, but then I was born in the North Island and maybe we didn’t see these so much further north. It’s a very interesting plant. Pretty little flower.

  3. Blue pollen? Wow. I was hoping that bees gathered the pollen and that you had some close-up shots. I was shocked a few years ago when I learned that pollen comes in multiple colors and not just in yellow. The peeling bark also looks quite fascinating.

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