What to do in August

  • This month, especially in the North Island, keep a lookout for flowers on the Puriri tree. Look first on the forest floor or the track in front of you for flowers which have dropped from the tree.The Puriri (Vitex lucens) can flower pretty much all year but the bulk of flowers appear from June to October. Unlike most New Zealand plants the Puriri has coloured flowers which are an attractive delicate pinkish-red with an irregular snapdragon shape.
 
                       Puriri flowers on the forest floor Look up into the forest canopy and spot the pink flowers  
 Close up of the pinkish-red flower  A mature Puriri tree with multiple trunks

If you live in Opotiki, or are travelling through, take time out to visit New Zealand’s oldest Puriri in the Hukutaia Domain. This magnificent 4.5ha of bush is centred on Taketakerau, a Puriri tree sacred to the local Whakatohea people. Estimated to be over 2,000 years old, it is one of New Zealand’s oldest trees. Here, until the arrival of the Pakeha, the bones of distinguished dead were placed with appropriate ceremonies inside the tree’s hollow trunk. As many as 200 skeletons are believed to have been interred here once.

Find out more about the Puriri on http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/table-1/puriri.html

  • Learn more plant related words to add to your GLOSSARY. A good way to do this is to make some cards and put one word on each card. You can use a shoe box to keep the cards in alphabetical order.
    Add these words – all associated with the Puriri tree: compound palmate leaf, leaflet, domatia, midrib, leaf margin, lateral vein, entire, serrated.

Need help?  Go to http://www.babylon.com/define/18/Biology-Terms.html or http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary

  • If you want to find out more about our native trees go to your local library and take out one (or more!) of the following suggested titles: Dawson, J & Lucas, R: New Zealand’s Native Trees
    Foster, T: Plant Heritage New Zealand  [This excellent book can be downloaded: www.bushmansfriend.co.nz for $29.99]
    Salmon, J.T: The Native Trees of New Zealand
    Wardle, J: Wardle’s Native Trees of New Zealand and their story

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