Emerging out of the surrounding canopy, the conical rewarewa might be one of ZEALANDIA's giants for now but will not be forever.
Growing 30 metres high, rewarewa are the tallest protea in the world, a family known for their striking flowers. Rewarewa is no exception, with rust-red, velvety flowers that are both spiky and tightly coiled.
Each flower-cluster contains fifty to eighty tubular flowers anchored on a single stem. Once the pollen is released from the tip, the petals coil downwards to expose the central female spike, ready to receive pollen from the feathered tummies of tūī, silvereye, and korimako.
Sun-loving rewarewa quickly dominate the canopy in regenerating forest, to the delight of the birds, insects and geckos who can reach their stores of nectar.
While rewarewa stands out in our forest now, over time it will be passed by the true forest giants, rimu, rātā, and kahikatea