New Zealand Status: Endemic
Conservation Status: Not Threatened
Knightia excelsa, commonly known as Rewarewa, is a very distinct tree with no close relatives within the indigenous, naturalised, or exotic cultivated flora of New Zealand. It is easily recognised by its dark red, "bottle brush" like inflorescences and its dark green, broad lanceolate, leaves with serrated edges. All emergent foliage, inflorescences and immature seed pods are covered in a distinctive red-brown (rust-coloured) tormentum.
Knightia excelsa grows to a tall, up to 30 metres, tree with a slender crown and a trunk up to 1 metre in diameter. The flowers are 20 - 35mm long, bright red, and borne in racemes 100mm long. It produces dry woody follicles. The leaves are alternate, leathery, narrow oblong, 100 \endash 155mm long and 25 - 35mm wide, without stipules.
Knightia excelsa occurs in coastal, lowland and lower montane shrub lands, including areas of secondary regrowth, and sometimes in mature forest.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader