The curious looking brown buds are bursting out in glorious golden yellow - food for the tui and for the eyes of the winter-weary. The tightly clustered flowers dangle in great profusion, lit from the side by the late afternoon light.
Kowhai come in different shapes and sizes - from small shrubs with divaricating branches to good-sized trees. The flowers are also varied - long and elegant, short and stubby, golden or lemony-yellow, in large clusters or small groups, shaded by the compound leaves or on bare branches before leaves open.
We don't have many native plants that put on such a bright display so they are particularly welcome. It is barely early spring and their bright sunny appearance, harmonising with early narcissus (not native), is a lovely harbinger of golden days to come.
These ones are growing in the grounds of our Parliament buildings. Now, if only the politicians would sweeten and soothe themselves on the sight and nectar of this lovely plant - maybe some more grounded and sustainable decisions would be made!