Kānuka grows in more fertile drier places and can cover large expanses of hillside. Initially tall and dense it starts to breakdown with age and enable shrubs, tree ferns and forest trees to establish. Along the track you will see kānuka forest with a tree fern understory and places where rimu is regenerating. It often occurs where there have been windfalls or a history of fires
Both species were very important to Māori for building materials (long tough stakes and poles), weapons and tools from the hardwood, and medicines from the leaves. Early Europeans made tea and called these plants “tea-tree”.
Photo courtesy of Dave Buckton nelsonphototours.co.nz
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