17 Feb 2023
Simon was lucky enough to recently spend some time in New Zealand visiting his daughter and grandson. Despite taking his grandpa responsibilities extremely seriously, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to explore the diverse and unusual species of plants and trees whilst there. We do love a challenge at SG, so he pulled together some of his favourite snaps and shared a Plant ID from his travels with the team. The answers are at the very bottom, and even if you don’t take part in the ID, we hope you enjoy the pictures and facts!
Facts – there are 574 native trees in NZ, by comparison we have 37 here in UK. An incredible 82% are endemic.
The NZ climate around Auckland, with mild winters, very warm summers, and plenty of rain means that it is home to a huge variety or plants and trees. You may have heard about the horrendous flooding recently, 249mm in 24hrs. We are extending our best and safe wishes to everyone affected by the terrible storms still impacting NZ.
Simon has given a few clues in the Plant ID below, to help and to encourage you to complete the course!
- A nectar source for the magnificent monarch butterfly – this one is very happy in NZ. It has several names…
- An easy one? Used in show gardens in UK. Historically, this is a very important plant and was used by the Maoris for fibre, fabric, rope and sail making. It is quite invasive – you see it everywhere even in the edge of the bush! This one is loved by the birds Tui and parrots.
- This is no ordinary palm – think vegetable. It’s the southern most member of palm family.
- Often planted in pots in UK and or/as a prized plant in the border, this was in invasive in NZ. Like lupin, there are huge drifts of it along the road and naturalised in street corners.
- Simon did not expect even anyone in our team of experts to ID this, but he gave a big clue – think bees and one of NZ’s iconic products – it is like hawthorn, growing in masses and quite invasive.
- Interesting hedge! This plant maybe used for fencing.
- Another invasive plant and non-native, Simon came across this one in the bush. In the UK, it is found in front gardens.
- NZ’s Christmas Tree – as well as having incredibly beautiful flowers, the tree form is wonderful, especially bordering a NZ beach! Endemic to NZ, we can’t we grow it here in the UK, does anyone know why?
- Simon couldn’t resist this endemic shrub lurking in the bush. Simon didn’t expect anyone to get this one, but the Genus is well used in UK, especially on the coast and there was a hint to one of our recent projects South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough.
- A form of a much loved UK border plant used for medicinal purposes. Simon hinted our very own Laura Fogg should get this one.
- The streets in NZ are full of amazing exotic small trees, how we would love to have as much choice here. This one is also from the Americas, it has a great name.
- Simon hoped most of the team would get this one, it’s a bigger version of a Genus that is used as a garden hedging across the country! This one grows as a tree and is widely planted, Auckland was frothing with this plant, despite being native to China.
- Most trees and shrubs in NZ are evergreen. This is an endemic species that shares the same Genus of a very popular evergreen shrub in UK, especially on the coast, it’s a bit of weed and there was a hint to one of our recent projects South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough.
- What! - come on! Like seeing an old friend at a party…
- There is no fruit on this tree – that would have made it very easy. You would not expect to see this in the street but Simon has heard that they have started planting them in London! Its Mexican - avo go! Get it, ava-ca-do! Genius!
- This is a popular tree throughout the world and there is no wonder, despite it being from South American – one of the team has a little nursery of these back home!
- Simon could not resist this one – it’s the result of a Scotsman’s dream in NZ…you could not make it up! A beautiful scene in a public park, just a mile or 2 from city centre.
- A familiar leaf? One of the most popular indoor plants and we have one in the SG office! This species is a climbing/ground cover version.
- A fabulous small endemic tree planted widely. Simon suggested that Scott may recognise this one as there’s one of the same Genus at the Canons. There is also one in Newcastle Uni near the Architecture/Fine Art department.
- Most of the leaves in NZ are green so this is a bit of shock. It’s a well-known Genus with a Mexican twist!
- This one is probably the most popular street tree in Auckland and they get to 10m+. In the UK they are planted against sunny walls for protection. Originates from South Carolina/Florida.
- Well, it had to feature…this one is used for branding as much as kiwis! Clue - NZ women’s netball team..?
- A delicate endemic climber found in the bush – beautiful isn’t it!
- The second biggest tree in the world, this is an endangered tree that is worshipped by Maoris and settlers too. It is a member of the Monkey Puzzle family.
- This is an extraordinary tree that you might expect in a greenhouse or a tropical forest, but no its quite happy in a city centre park. Another Mexican - Erick knows it. The name reflects the flower shape.
- A magnificent tree that is more at home in the Med! But what a whooper here, again in the city centre. We are grateful to this tree every day!
- A familiar favourite in housing schemes, endemic to NZ too.
- This is a lovely small tree with delicate light green leaves. It’s not planted enough in UK in Simon’s view and is endemic to NZ.
- Ok, this one is a bit similar to 28, but it’s another endemic NZ species. The leave shape gives its name! A clue from Simon…“give me five!”
- Bit of a strange one to end on, an odd shelter belt – this ones not very clear but you get the gist!
Don't scroll any further if you don't want to see the answers!
- Giant Swan Plant Milkweed/Bishop Balls – Gomphocarpus frutocosa
- Flax - Phormium tenax
- New Zealand Cabbage Palm - Cordyline Australis
- Agapanthus – Blue Lily
- Manuka – Leptospermum scoparium
- Willow - Salix
- Olearia rani
- Pampas Grass - Cortaderia selloana
- Pohutukawa – Metrosideros excelsior
- Heketara - Olearia rani
- Beach Evening Primrose - Oenothera drummondii
- Sun opener - Heimia salicifolia
- Ligustrum lucidum
- English Oak - Quercus robur
- Avocado - Persea americano
- Jacaranda mimosifolia
- Olive - Olea europaea
- Climbing Fig – Ficus pumila
- Sophara - molloyi
- Mexican Shrubby Spurge - Euphorbia cotinifolia
- Magnolia grandiflora
- Silver Fern - Alsophilia dealbata
- White rata vine – Metrosideros perforate
- Kaouri - Agathis australis
- Mexican Hand Tree – Chiranthodendron pentadactylon
- Cork Oak - Quercus suber
- Veronica / Hebe speciosa
- Pittosporum tenuifolium
- Five Finger – Pseudopanax arboreus