New Zealand Christmas tree

New Zealand Christmas tree

Metrosideros excelsa (Myrtaceae)

Common Name:

New Zealand Christmas tree

Scientific Name:

Metrosideros excelsa (Myrtaceae)


Alternative common names:

New Zealand bottlebrush (English), Nieu-Seelandse perdestert (Afrikaans)

Description:

A wide-spreading evergreen tree growing up to 5-6m high, but sometimes as high as 20m. Several branches originate close to the ground. The leaves are oblong to oval bright green and smooth leaves with a felty texture beneath. Crimson bottlebrush-like flowers appear in clusters from December to January and the fruits include a white or grey velvety capsule. This tree invades coastal fynbos on moist, peaty soils in the Western Cape.

Additional Information


Where does this species come from?

New Zealand and Australia

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

Existing legislation: CARA 2002 - Category 3 NEMBA 2020 - Category 1a

Where does this species come from?

New Zealand and Australia

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Western Cape

How does it spread?

Seed dispersal

Why is it a problem?

It competes with and replaces indigenous species. Threatens biodiversity in coastal fynbos on moist, peaty soils

What does it look like?

General description: A wide-spreading evergreen tree growing up to 5-6m high, but sometimes as high as 20m. Numerous branches originate close to the ground.
Leaves: Oblong to oval bright green and smooth leaves with a felty texture beneath.
Flowers: Crimson bottlebrush clusters appearing from December to January.
Fruit/Seeds: Produces a white or grey velvety capsule

Does the plant have any uses?

Used as an ornament and for shade

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