Crimson pohutukawa - unfurling for Christmas

The pohutukawa seem to have sprung into action very suddenly - there are beautiful displays of the bright red flowers everywhere.  Although they were actually only native to the north of the North Island, they have thrived here in Wellington and have been planted extensively in the city.  Close-up the flowers are quite intriguing.  Clusters of hairy (tomentose) buds are grouped together, the white of the dense hairs contrasting with the green sepals and red petals at the tips of the buds.

The petals are modest compared to the crimson thickets that emerge - a central stigma and then the wonderful wiry red stamens in great profusion around it.  When fully open the stamens make an orderly array.  But these are crumpled and still in a bit of a tangle - as if they are just waking up and beginning to stretch in the light.