Kōwhaimeans yellow, and the tree is named for its distinctive yellow flower in early spring.
There are a number of varieties ofkōwhai. Most are deciduous, and lose their small rounded leaves in winter.
It was an important medicinal plant for Māori, who used bark teas to heal skin wounds, sprains and broken bones.
However,kōwhaiis generally considered poisonous to humans as it contains the toxincytisine.
Birds love the nectar!Tūīwill fly great distances in search of it, and defend it aggressively.
The timber is dense and durable and was used by Māori and European settlers for tools, machinery, wood-splittingwedges, houses, cabinets, fencing and ship-building. The more flexible branches were used as bird snares.
Thekōwhaiis said to symbolise personal growth, and helps people to move on from the past with a renewed sense ofadventure.