What's On at Zealandia


Kōtukutuku flowers
Ali McDonald
/ Categories: In the Valley, Science

Kōtukutuku flowers

the colour of efficiency

Have you ever noticed how kōtukutuku - our native tree fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) - produces flowers of two different colours? This is because it colour-codes its petals to allow for maximum pollination efficiency.

The green flowers let birds know that nectar is available, whereas a reddish flower tells the birds not to bother visiting. Why do the flowers stop producing nectar? Well, the trees don’t want to waste energy providing a food-source if the flower is already pollinated!

Did you also know… because kōtukutuku are pollinated by birds they benefit considerably from pest-control.


Written by Ali McDonald, volunteer Sanctuary Storyteller
Main photo credit: Janice McKenna, volunteer Sanctuary Storyteller

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