Chatham Island Christmas tree/rautini
IntroductionThe spectacular tree daisy Rautini, sometimes known as the Chatham Island Christmas tree, can grow up to 8 metres tall.
Brachyglottis huntii in flower, Pitt Island, Chatham Islands
Rautini, sometimes referred to as the Chatham Island Christmas tree, is a large tree daisy that grows up to 8 m tall. Its leaves grows up to 12 cm long and are clad in downy hairs, giving the whole plant a silvery hue. The brilliant yellow flowers can be seen in summer, while seeds mature in autumn.
This spectacular tree daisy is found in forests, shrubland and drier swamps. It often occurs on streamsides or near ridge crests, typically on peat soils. Rautini can be seen in Pitt Island Scenic Reserve.
Young plants are palatable to stock and considerable damage through browsing and trampling has been recorded. Possums may browse the foliage and flowers. Habitat destruction is also threatening the survival of this once widespread species.
Rautini is an opportunistic plant adapted for the rapid colonisation of sites disturbed by natural perturbations (gale damage, erosion events, floods, fires). It is now restricted on Chatham Island, but is still widespread on Pitt Island.