Definition of pohutukawa in English:



  • An evergreen New Zealand tree of the myrtle family, which bears crimson flowers in December and January.

    Also called Christmas tree or in New Zealand
    • ‘When cabbage trees erupt, pohutukawa blaze and the first blowfly of summer sings its siren song, count us out.’
    • ‘An enormous pohutukawa in front of the Greenaways' house was swept down to the harbour in a mudslide, leaving both properties more exposed to the elements, with the Greenaways' home being particularly vulnerable to further erosion.’
    • ‘Editorials were written about the wisdom of planting another imported pine over a native pohutukawa.’
    • ‘It may also be because fewer of the pohutukawas are the native pohutukawas which flower only at Christmas.’
    • ‘In any event there are dozens of stunning beaches along the coast, my favourite being Harataonga for its gnarly pohutukawas, fresh water stream, grassy rolling backdrop and spun-sugar sand.’


Mid 19th century: from Maori.