What Is The Purpose Of The Stamen In A Flower Metrosideros (Pohutukawa) – An Excellent Landscape Tree Or Shrub For a Mediterranean Climate Garden

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Metrosideros (Pohutukawa) – An Excellent Landscape Tree Or Shrub For a Mediterranean Climate Garden

Metrosideros is the botanical name for a genus of landscape trees and large shrubs known by the Maori name Pohutukawa or New Zealand Christmas tree. As a large evergreen plant, it is ideal for selection purposes, but it is also very decorative with its fine form, attractive, leathery leaves and showy annual flowers.

Pohutukawa is relatively drought tolerant, thriving with as little as 200 mm (8 inches) of supplemental irrigation in desert climates that receive no more than 250 mm of annual rainfall. In semi-arid Mediterranean climates that receive about 400 mm (16 inches) of annual rainfall, it can get by with less water, but will look better for an occasional deeper soak in summer.

It is also tolerant of wind and sea spray, and is generally not attacked by pests and diseases, although it is not suitable for areas with prolonged frosts and cold. Metrosideros grows well in most soils, including the alkaline ones typical of many dry climates, provided there is reasonable drainage. However, it is not a plant for the impatient because it grows slowly in the first few years. However, the patient gardener will be rewarded with a beautiful and reliable landscape plant.

Combinations and associations

With which trees and shrubs is the New Zealand Christmas tree pleasantly associated? Its oval-shaped foliage is medium in size and texture, so it blends well with landscape shrubs with similar foliage such as Pittosporum and Viburnum. It is particularly good with another New Zealand native – Coprosma repens whose varieties with mottled or copper leaves provide a gentle contrast to the bright green leaves of metrosideros.

You should also think about how the plant combines with larger trees than it, as well as with low bushes. With this in mind, it combines well with tall eucalypts and small shrubs such as Green Island Ficus, Dwarf Pittosporum (“Wheeler’s Dwarf”) and Raphiolepis.

Pohutukawa, as a member of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) has flowers with prominent stamens typical of that botanical family. It is therefore associated with other Myrtaceae plants such as Syzygium, Myrtle, Acmena and Callistemon.

Metrosideros is so attractive and useful as a selection plant and so adaptable to the dry conditions prevailing in the Mediterranean climate (excluding very cold areas) that dry climate gardeners can hardly afford to ignore it.

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