The secret life of flowers

Become a plant detective this spring and discover the hidden beauty of our native flora

Discover the hidden beauty of our native flora

When you walk through the bush this spring, you may not immediately notice the secretive flowers of our native flora that surround you. But if you take a moment to stop and look closely, you'll uncover a whole new world of floral intrigue unfolding in front of your eyes. A magnifying glass can be helpful, because the flowers are sometimes so small that to enjoy their unique features you'll need a bit of a boost to see them.

Some do have showy flowers though, for example the stunning Clematis paniculata (also known as puawananga). The interesting fact about this lovely climbing vine is that it has male and female flowers on separate plants. You can tell the difference between the two by careful observation of the stamens and stigma.  

Clematis paniculata male flowers on Coprosma parviflora with female flowers

Clematis paniculata (male flowers) on Coprosma parviflora

Clematis paniculata female flowers

Clematis paniculata (female flowers)

On the less showy side of things, look out for the strange looking stigmas of Coprosma parviflora that look like tiny white waxy rods, or the teeny statuesque stigmas of Streblus heterophyllus (also known as turepo). You'll see these female flowers develop into beautiful red fruits around Christmas time. 

Streblus heterophyllus female flowers

Streblus heterophyllus (female flowers)