Clear Mountain Garden Treasures
 

Clear Mountain Garden TreasuresKaka beak

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Kaka beak

Flowers
Family Fabaceae
Name Clianthus puniceus
Common Names Kaka beak, Red kowhai, Kowhai ngutukaka
Etymology
Clianthus From Greek kleos meaning glory, and Greek anthos meaning flower.
puniceus From Latin puniceus meaning rosy.

  See also:  NZ Natives, Trees & shrubs, Culture / Germination

This is a quick growing shrub is endemic to New Zealand. It grows to 1-2m in 2-3 years. The flowers look like large red pea blossoms, and is especially attractive to nectar feeding birds. Plants flower from their second year and usually put on a spectacular display in late Winter / early Spring.

The journals of both Cook and Surville mentioned cultivation of this plant by the Maori for the flowers. Seed pods are said to be edible, though I haven't tried them myself.

Kaka beak is now very rare in the wild, being restricted to only several pockets in the North Island. It is listed as "Nationally Critical".


Flowers

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