Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ancient Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) trees Northwest Coromandel Coast

Although this is my first post on the blog from New Zealand I have been living and working here for almost two years, in that time I have visited many wonderful large and older trees in the parks and reserves around the Auckland region. The Pohutukawa trees in this post are to be found along the Northwest coast of Coromandel, North of Fantail Bay.



Coromandel Peninsula

Like many areas in the country the landscape of Coromandel has been dramatically altered by the impact of white settlement and the imposition of European agricultural practices i.e. widespread land clearing and the creation of pasture land. 

Nevertheless there are pockets of remnant woodland and forest, and some magnificent ancient Pohutukawa trees can be found clinging to a narrow strip of land along the edge of the roadway that leads up past Fantail Bay to the northern tip of the peninsula.





Whilst I had seen big old Pohutukawa in other places I was not prepared for the scale and age of some of the trees you meet on this unsealed road.

The body language of many of them reveal their age class and reflect the very same aging processes to be seen in Ancient trees in other parts of the world.
Lowest limbs touching the ground have layered themselves

Classic fallen stem regenerating as a 'harp tree'

Its is quite incredible that some of these trees have managed to survive despite the changes of land use around them, no doubt due in no small part to the interventions of both local authorities and individuals with foresight.


Coastal fringe of Pohutukawa near Fantail Bay
There were other fine examples of copses of veteran trees on the way to the top of the peninsular, Puriri as well as Pohutukawa...but the Pohutukawa were so accessible that they made the biggest impression on me.

At the Dept of Conservation camp at Stony Bay there was a small line of very impressive veterans.




I did shoot a short wind blown video of one of the oldest and largest Pohutukawa on the road from Fantail Bay..Apologies for the sound quality the wind was really blowing hard, but it was worth it for such a fabulous specimen.


video

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