Tree of the Month – November 2016

By Jo Halley

Kamahi   Weinmannia racemosa

Kamahi is one of our commonest native trees. It’s very predominant in West Coast forests, associating with podocarps, rata, beech and quintinia. It is very obvious at the moment, as it is in full flower.

Growing up to 25m, kamahi is a mid-sized tree. Often multi-trunked, with smooth, light-coloured bark, it is found from sea-level up to about 800m in the Paparoas.

The flowers can be white or pinkish. They are very prolific, upright racemes, sitting like candles on the outer foliage. They produce copious nectar and provide a large reliable honey source for bees. I haven’t ever seen tui or bellbirds feeding on them, so I don’t know who this nectar was intended for, before honey bees came to NZ.

Seed capsules ripen the following autumn and are soon open, with seed germinating quickly. Kamahi is a great tree for erosion control, and will rapidly colonise slips and damaged forest areas.

Kamahi is very common on the Croesus Track, as far up as the bushline.