seed collecting almanac


Fuchsia excorticata

Kotukutuku flower mostly in December and within a month there is a profusion of berries on the trees. From a single flower comes a berry with up to 100 tiny seeds embedded in the succulent flesh.

There are two kinds of trees, having two kinds of flowers. Some are functionally female, having given up the ability to produce pollen, and some are hermaphrodite, with both male and female functions.
This poses the interesting question: what competitive advantages do each have and why are each strategy, equally successful?

Typical kotukutuku habitat
just above flood level on the stream bank

We see kotukutuku all along stream and river banks, where the ground is perpetually damp. Kotukutuku is pretty fussy though, it doesn’t cope at all well with flooding over its roots, so it needs to be planted in the wet seeps along streams but above any chance of being flooded.

Frost is not so much a problem for this, the world’s tallest fuchsia. The leaves might curl up and die in a heavy frost but usually they don’t last the winter anyway.
The stems are fine, sprouting fresh new growth once the chance of frost has passed.

One thought on

  1. Thanks Wayne for the clue about where kotukutuku likes to be. Over the years, I had tried it in various places where there was moisture, despite underlying powdery pumice soil. But they all died. Recently I planted one a metre above the stream level – it has prospered & flowered for the first time this January. So your hint has confirmed what I discovered after years of trial & error ! Yes, they are quite fussy.

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