Rhabdothamnus solandri (Taurepo)
Species: R. solandri
Binomial name: Rhabdothamnus solandri
Synonyms: Rhabdothamnus scabrosus, Columnea scabros
Common names: New Zealand Gloxinia, Taurepo, Matata, Waiuatua, Kaikaiatua, Mata,
Rhabdothamnus solandri is the sole representative of the genus and the only member of the Gesneria (Gloxinia) family in New Zealand. This small twiggy shrub, which grows up to 2 metres tall, is found in coastal to lowland forests, streamside, steep bank and upland locations, throughout the North Island. Rhabdothamnus solandri is locally common on some streamside banks below 450m on the Kaitake Ranges. The nearby Te Koru Pa Historic Reserve also features significant colonies on banks adjacent to the Oakura River and it is also found in similar habitats throughout Taranaki. The banks of the Waiwhakaiho River near Burgess Park and the Manganui River at Everett Park are further locations where it can be readily found.
Throughout the year but peaking between October and February the variable Rhabdothamnus solandri has small brightly coloured trumpet shaped flowers that are principally adapted for bird pollination and range in colour from brick-red through to orange and more rarely a pale yellow. Fruiting occurs throughout the year and the seeds are a tiny dry capsule which develops a few weeks after the flower dies.
It is thought that in the past Rhabdothamnus solandri needed the long beaks of stitchbirds and bellbirds for pollination. It is now recorded that the colonist silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) are nectar robbers of the flower by going through the side of the flower tube leaving holes. While doing this they partly maintain pollination for this species and without this compensation, these plants would be significantly more pollen-limited.
For more details visit: http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.asp?ID=791
This shrub was photographed at Otari Wilton Bush Reserve, Wellington
Photographed at Te Kainga Marire Gardens, New Plymouth
The top surface of a leaf.
The heavily veined underside of a leaf.