Native plants

White rata

Scientific name: Metrosideros perforata
Maori name: Akatorotoro
Other names: Climbing white rata, Akatea, Aka, Clinging rata, Small white rata, Box rata, Koro, whakapiopio

Shrub, vine or creeper - native to the Wellington Region
Suits: damp, dry, shade, partial shade, sunny, shelter, exposure, coastal forest garden, coastal and dune garden, small garden or balcony

About White rata

The White rata or Akatorotoro as its is also commonly known as is a climber growing up 15 m high and can have a stem 15cm or more in diameter. It can also take shape of a bushy, climbing shrub when support is not available to climb. The leathery green oval opposite leaves are small, but highly attractive, arranged in a very ordered manner along the stems, The leaves have conspicuous oil glands on the underside, and this is the easiet way to ID this species when not in flowering. The young shoots are covered with soft matted hairs. The bark of teh steam is reddish brown and stringy. In mid summer, it produces large quantities of pure white flowers from white buds, which are popular with native bees. It also plays an important ecological role as a favoured host for several of our native stick insects (a combination of M. perforata and kanuka would make a particularly good combination for gardeners who wish to encourage these fascinating creatures).
 They are also very attractive to a range of butterflies, birds, geckos and at night time the white flowers attract many species of moths. 

Although it can grow taller than 1.5m as a ground shrub, M. perforata is very amenable to being trimmed to as low as 40cm high. A tough, resilient rata suitable for open situations and once established tolerant of drought and moderate frost.

Despite the common name "white rata" Metrosideros perforata is not closely related to Metrosideros albiflora, which is a species virtually confined to northern New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) forest,

Provides for birds

  Nectar Fruit Seeds
Key . . .

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Read more about gardening for birds or see full nectar calendar.

Provides for lizards

  • Habitat connection
  • Protection from predators
  • Ground cover for retreat
  • Clump forming for camouflage and insects
  • Nectar

Read more about gardening for lizards.

More detail