Yellow pohutukawa - a variant of the crimson "Christmas tree"

One of the recurring images used to represent summer or Christmas in New Zealand is that of the crimson pohutukawa in flower.  (The flowering season spans November to January, but most are in bloom in mid to late December.)  The yellow pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa 'Aurea') is seen much less often.  It was found in 1940 on Motiti Island in the Bay of Plenty, and was brought into nursery production seven years later.

This one, by Shorland Park near the beach at Island Bay, is flowering beautifully.  The flowers are spiky clusters of yellow stamens, and they are very attractive to birds and bees - tonight it was bumble bees and sparrows having a feast, and often it is tui enjoying them.      

It is much more subtle than the rich red forms with their range of hues from crimson to scarlet to almost vermilion.  I think of the yellow one as like a starter, stimulating our taste buds for the rich main course that is coming soon.