Pohutukawa - Metrosideros excelsa
Warrnambool Botanic Gardens has two vigorous Pohutukawa. One is to the right of the main entrance.
It is a hardy evergreen tree with deep green leaves that are grey underneath. A tough tree, it can withstand strong winds and full sun, and it is also salt tolerant. This makes it a popular choice in Warrnambool.
In December, this native of New Zealand produces an abundance of bright red flowers, which is why we call it the New Zealand Christmas tree Metrosideros excelsa.
As a young plant, it is slow growing, compact and shrub-like. But do not be misled.
As it matures it grows rapidly and may reach a height of 25m with a girth of more than 4m - that's about 90feet high and 13 feet around (say six axe handles).
Planted in the time of curator Duncan Leitch the Warrnambool trees are just youngsters, aged between 50 and 70 years.