Metrosideros: iron heart
umbellata: bearing flowers in umbels
Metrosideros umbellata Cav.
Vascular - Native
Melaleuca lucida G.Forst., Metrosideros lucida (G.Forst.) A.Rich.
Endemic. North, South, Stewart and Auckland Islands. In the North Island locally present from Te Paki south to Mt Pirongia, the northern Kaimai Ranges (Ngatamahinerua) and Mt Manuoha (Te Urewera National Park). In the South Island from Durville Island south and to Fiordland, with a mainly westerly distribution (absent from Marlbrough), most of Canterbury and northern Otago. Common on Stewart and the Auckland Islands.
Main Flower Colour
Red / Pink
Easy from fresh seed but inclined to be rather slow-growing unless planted in ideal conditions. In cultivation this species prefers a moist soil. Can be grown from soft-wood and semi-hardwood cuttings but these can be very difficult to strike. A beautiful specimen tree which shoud be more widely planted in locations where conditions are suitable.
Not Threatened. However, rather uncommon in the North Island, and at some sites it is locally threatened by possum browse.
2n = 22
Where To Buy
Occasionally available from retail and specialist native plant nurseries. Can be purchased from Oratia Native Plant Nurseries (email@example.com)
North Island plants are genetically (based on nrDNA ITS sequences) distinct from South Island plants but the differences cannot be matched to morphology. All recent southern rata collections made from the Tararua Ranges are the hybrid M. robusta x M. umbellata (Gardner et al. 2004). A few photographs taken in the 1930s from the Francis Ridge, Southern Tararua Ranges may have been genuine M. umbellata but the species cannot be found there now. Other northern Tararua records of M. umbellata appear to be based on M. robusta.
References and further reading
Beddie, A.D. 1953. Root behaviour in Metrosideros. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin, 26: 2-6
de Lange, P.J. 1994. Southern rata Metrosideros umbellata confirmed from Mt Pirongia Western Waikato. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 49: 57-59.
Druce, A.P. 1959. Southern rata in the Tararuas. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin, 31: 12-15
Gardner, R.C.; de Lange, P.J.; Bowala, T.; Brown. H.A.; Keeling, J.; Wright, S.D. 2004: A Quaternary phylogeography for New Zealand inferred from chloroplast DNA haplotypes in Metrosideros (Myrtaceae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 83: 399-412.
This page last updated on 3 Feb 2013