New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

Pirita - Green Mistletoe

 

Botanical name:  Ileostylus micranthus
Maori name:  Pirita
Common name:  Green mistletoe


Pirita, a member of the mistletoe family, is described as a woody, epiphytic, much branched hemiparasite. Its leathery green leaves use photosynthesis to produce the sugar and starch necessary for plant cell formation. It also uses its attachment to the host plant to tap into sap channels to get water and mineral salts. It can form several of these attachments which are called haustoria. From September to December, pirita produces tiny greenish yellow flowers which are pollinated by insects. Following pollination small berries ripen to a bright yellow from December to April. The berries are sweet and juicy and were eaten by Maori.

Pirita is spread mainly by birds, who eat the berries and then wipe their bills on tree-bark to remove the sticky seeds. The seeds get lodged in cracks in the bark and germinate there.

Only two pirita plants have so far been found on Tiritiri. They are attached to Karo (Pittosporum crassifolium). It is hoped that sharped-eyed botanists visiting the Island will discover more.



Photography by Warren Brewer © (buds, top, and flowers, bottom).