Another step closer towards my New Zealand Geographic assignment on ‘Life in tree-tops.’
A Rata tree usually germinates in the branches of a mature forest tree. Over centuries the young tree sends descending and girdling roots down and around the trunk of its host, eventually forming a massive, independent trunk composed of fused roots. Although called a “strangling hemiepiphyte”, the rata in New Zealand is not thought to strangle its host but rather outlive it. This giant Northern Rata is estimated to be around 1 500 years old.
Many thanks to Paul Stanley Ward, Tim Park and Ninette Rowland for an amazing day full of adventure and for giving me the opportunity to photograph this awesome tree.