Kotukutuku (NZ Tree Fuchsia)
New Zealand Status: Endemic
Conservation Status: Not Threatened
Fuchsia excorticata is considered to be the world’s largest fuchsia, growing up to 12 metres high and is one of New Zealand’s few truly deciduous trees, losing its leaves in winter in all but the warmest areas. One of its distinctive freatures is the gnarled trunk with light brown bark that peels away in long strips. The thin pointed leaves are up to 100mm long by 15mm to 30mm wide, white underneath, with small teeth on the margin.
It produces small attractive flowers in spring which change from greenish-yellow to purple-red in colour. The flowers are nectar rich making them attractive to honey-eating birds, especially tui, bellbirds and silvereyes. Its dark purple berries are edible and taste like tamarillos.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader