Caught in a sunbeam

Amidst some scrubby bush by the river there was a small clearing, lit by a narrow beam of sunlight.  I was captivated by the spotlight effect.  It brought into stark contrast the fresh greens of a small whau (sounds like "foe") tree against a background of dark shade.  The leaves of whau are large and soft, the seedheads a dramatic spiky cluster - brown when mature.  The tree has an almost tropical lushness.

Whau (Entelia arborescens) is a New Zealand small tree which we don't see much in Wellington because it is unhappy in even moderate wind, and it prefers warmth and enough moisture - with our strong winds none of those preferences are reliably met!  The seeds are long-lived and profuse, ready to pop up in places where there is a new clearing, but it tends to be a transient with other plants eventually shading it and taking over.  The wood is very light - like balsa wood.  The whau tree can be very pretty with its clusters of creamy flowers and fresh lively green leaves, then a bit daunting with its clusters of spiky seedheads.