Metrosideros excelsa, with common names pōhutukawa or New Zealand pohutukawa. Is a coastal evergreen tree in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, that produces a brilliant display of red (or occasionally orange, yellow or white) flowers made up of a mass of stamens. The pōhutukawa is one of twelve Metrosideros species endemic to New Zealand. Renowned for its vibrant colour and its ability to survive even perched on rocky, precarious cliffs.
The pōhutukawa grows up to 25 metres (82 ft) high, with a spreading, dome-like form. It usually grows as a multi-trunked spreading tree. Its trunks and branches are sometimes festooned with matted, fibrous aerial roots. The oblong, leathery leaves are covered in dense white hairs underneath.
The tree flowers from November to January with a peak in mid to late December (the Southern Hemisphere summer), with brilliant crimson flowers covering the tree, hence the nickname New Zealand Christmas tree. There is variation between individual trees in the timing of flowering, and in the shade and brightness of the flowers.