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Red Miracle: Southern Rata

06 January 2020

This Week on Chasing the Tree Across the Globe: Southern Rata

We continue our journey chasing the tree in Oceania with a unique tree endemic to New Zealand, known as Southern Rata.

Measuring 15m in height and 1m or more in diameter, Southern Rata is a charming plant with unique, red flowers. In contrast to its relatives in the same family, this species rarely grows as an epiphyte.

Southern Rata, or Metrosideros umbellata in Latin, grows in Mediterranean climate. It stands out among other trees with rich red and green shades. Endemic to New Zealand, it blooms in springtime and continues to bloom until late summer. Its flowers resemble a wild painting brush.

Southern Rata is so beautiful that reaching out and touching it would be your first instinct. When its young, it feels very silky to the touch. It known as the most common rata tree in New Zealand.

Thanks to its bright red flowers, Southern Rata is widely considered as a Christmas tree in New Zealand. It looks even more charming when it’s dressed up in Christmas ornaments.

When it’s young, Southern Rata grows up to 15cm every year. The pace of growth decreases as it gets older. Spread across New Zealand, it’s common to see Southern Rata trees older than 100 years. Under convenient conditions, Southern Rata is said to have a life expectancy of up to 1000 years.

This Week on Chasing the Tree Across the Globe: Southern Rata