akakura, carmine rata, crimson rata
Evergreen climber, endemic to New Zealand, but only occasionally found in its natural habitat of coastal and lowland forests in the northern half of the North Island. Climbs by adhering to tree trunks and other rough surfaces with aerial, adventitious roots. When the juvenile plant eventually reaches the light, it gradually transforms into the shrubby, non-climbing, flowering, adult form. Cuttings from an adult plant will result in a small spreading shrub rather than a climber. Shaded parts of an adult shrub may produce juvenile climbing or creeping stems. Glossy, dark green, rounded leaves, 1-2 cm long on juvenile plants and 2-4 cm long on adult plants. Bright crimson flowers in dense clusters from mid winter to mid spring.
Synonym: Metrosideros diffusa
Prefers a position in well-draining soil. If you intend to use Metrosideros carminea as a climber, then find a spot in the shade, preferably where it can grow towards the light. If you want to grow it as a shrub, then a sunny position is best. Suitable for coastal gardens. Once established, the crimson rata tolerates drought, and light to moderate frosts (USDA zones 8-11). The adult form copes well with exposed, windy conditions. Generally trouble free.
Very tough, but slow growing plant. Spectacular when in flower. Worth the wait!
Type of plantShrub - Evergreen Climber - Evergreen
Size1 x 1 m (shrub), to 12 m tall (climber) but very slow growing
Landscape Useclimber or shrub for flower display
- Temperature: Half hardy
- Light: Low Medium High
- Moisture: Low Medium
- Soil: Medium
- Wind tolerance: Average
- Coastal tolerance: High