A Merry Christmas Bush Walk

Spur-of-the-moment this morning: I suggested to Nigel that we take a break and explore a bush track that’s only a short drive from home. We’d been to the public domain before but had never explored the track. Black Gully, Blue Mountains, West Otago, New Zealand.

We just did a small part of the track, it’s a 6-8 hour walk if you continue up the Blue Mountains, along the tops and down to Whisky Gully near Tapanui.

Photos taken by my OH, Nigel Cowburn; some at my request. Thanks Nigel!


Click on any photo to enlarge

A Merry Christmas bush walk – amazed to find lots of native mistletoe in bloom. Growing on native silver beech trees. The flowers are stunning! Pretty sure this is Scarlet Mistletoe or Peraxilla colensoi.

Mistletoe near the start of the track.

Start of track. Mistletoe on a large tree. The flax-like plants are Astelia.

Nigel found these further along the track, fallen flowers carpeting the ground.

Huge tree supporting lots of other plants. In the centre, the weeping plants with fine foliage are orchids (not flowering at this time).

We were excited to find mistletoe flowers brightly glowing all over the place. The photos are of the lower ones but there were plenty high up on trees too. Every way we turned we saw them!

Joy to the world …

Beautiful path to walk on, lovely and soft because although they’re evergreen, the beech trees drop plenty of little leaves that cushion the path for walking on πŸ™‚

Returning the way we’d come, Nigel spotted this gorgeous purple fungi. It appeared to have a clear jelly on the surface, a bit like Vaseline.

I adored this section of moss-lined path and asked Nigel to be in the photo.

As things turned out he took a photo of me too. His is vertical so from both photos you get a pretty good idea of what this section of bush looks like.


Thought you might like to see closer detail of the purple fungi:

Click twice on photo for the full enlargement – to 1613px-wide

More information about New Zealand mistletoes

New Zealand Geographic article (2002):
The Mystery of the Disappearing Mistletoes

New Zealand Plant Conservation Network
Leafy mistletoes


Text by Liz, photos by Nigel; Exploring Colour (2020)

14 thoughts on “A Merry Christmas Bush Walk

Add yours

  1. Ha, ha! I sure hope Nigel took advantage of you standing under the mistletoe. ❀

    Very nice to see it in its natural habitat. The only time I see it here is hanging from someone's ceiling. πŸ™‚

    We have a lovely similar purple mushroom here, two species actually. It might be a Cortinarius.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really interesting to see the mistletoe in flower. I don’t know if the mistletoe we have is related, but I’ve never seen it in flower. (But then it grows up high, where it’s hard to see the detail.) It’s so nice to see you out enjoying your walk. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ann, it was a wonderful walk! From what I read yesterday it seems we have 8 kinds of mistletoe and all except one are endemic, the other is also found on Norfolk Island. We have quite a range of colours too and I wasn’t aware of that. I love it that these flower at Christmas πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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