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Last month a group of us went to view a small cluster of Kohekohe in the gulley behind the sewage treatment plant.
The first feature that catches everyone's attention is that it flowers from the trunk! This behaviour is called cauliflore, more typical of trees growing in the tropics than windy Titahi Bay!
The kohekohe does not flower every year. It flowers early winter and takes up to 15 months for the fruit to ripen. So as you can see from the two photos, one tree is laden in fruit while the neighbouring tree only has clusters of flowers sprouting from the trunk.
Kohekohe seeds are distributed by the Kereru and proof of this can be seen in the seedlings found in most reserves in Titahi Bay. Possums too love kohekoe and can strip a tree of all its leaves, so these photos are evidence of effective possum control in Titahi Bay.
Kohekohe is the only representative in New Zealand of the tree genus Dysoxylum which is otherwise only found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Kohekohe is a close relative of true mahogany and is sometime referred to as New Zealand Mahogany.