T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Metrosideros perforate (White Rata Vine)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Metrosideros
Species: M. perforata
Binomial name: Metrosideros perforate
Synonyms: Leptospermum perforatum, Metrosideros scandens.  
Common names. Climbing white rata, Akatea. Aka, Clinging rata,Small white rata, Akatorotoro

Metrosideros perforata is one of twelve Metrosideros species endemic to New Zealand. 
Metrosideros perforata is a climber growing up 15 m high and can have a stem 15cm or more in diameter. It can be in a form of a bushy shrub when a  tree is not available to climb. 
The leathery green oval opposite leaves are 0.8–1.2 cm long, the leaves when young tend to lie in one plane and. The leaves have conspicuous oil glands on the underside. The young shoots are covered with soft matted hairs. The bark is reddish brown and stringy.
In mid summer it has masses of white flowers from white buds. The small white flowers are carried in small clusters and are very attractive to bees, butterflies, birds, geckos and at night time the white flowers attract many species of moths. 
Metrosideros perforata is found in coastal to lowland forests and forest edges, North Island, South Island and Three Kings Island, New Zealand.

The information below is of its use by Maori and it is from the website.
http://www.o2landscapes.com/pages/pp-metrosideros.php
Metrosideros perforata had a valuable practical purpose for Maori, as it was one of the primary species utilised for lashing (of weapons as well as palisades). The thin young stems were tied in a green state, when they were still pliable and subsequently dried to become very hard and rigid3. The large cables that form on very old rata vines were also used by Maori as a means of ascending cliffs - a practice that is adapted in the myth of Tawhaki, a warrior who ascended to the heavens on a giant 'aka' cable (to bring back his wife and child, in one telling).

 Metrosideros perforate vine high in the tree tops, Flowering January. Te Henui Walkway.
  



Metrosideros perforate covering a rock wall in dense native bush.


Metrosideros perforata climbing high in native bush in the North West Nelson Conservation Park. Mid February.












Top surface of the leaves showing oil glands.


Underside of leaf showing oil glands