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


Clianthus puniceus albus (White kaka beak)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Clianthus
Species: C. puniceus
Form name: Clianthus puniceus albus
Common name: White kaka beak, White parrot's beak

Clianthus puniceus albus is rare white form of Clianthus puniceus the Kaka Beak tree which is an endangered native tree of New Zealand. This rare white variant of the red kakabeak (Ngutukākā or Clianthus) which grew at the Tiniroto cliffs near Wairoa has not been seen in the wild since the 1950s. The chance discovery of some seeds taken from the Wairoa area has enabled Scion (Crown Research Institute) to revitalise it. Scion has worked together with DOC, Landcare Research and the Ngutukākā Recovery Group for four years to propagate the white kakabeak seeds and seedlings in its nurseries,
It is a woody legume, shrub native to New Zealand's North Island. It is a lush, green, wide-spreading shrub that produces large white flowers which hang in clusters of 15-20 blooms from spring through to early summer.
Kaka beak grows to around two metres high, with spreading branches producing leaf stalks up to 15 cm long bearing several pairs of small leaflets. 
Flowers are shaped like a parrot’s beak, hence the name.