Some native plants have evolved along with tūī, and have a give-and-take relationship. Their flowers produce nutritious nectar to attract the bird, which then transfers pollen to other plants, ensuring cross-pollination. The curve and length of the flowers (pūriri, top; kōwhai, bottom) and the tūī’s bill are a good match. The anther of each flower species deposits pollen on a specific area of the tūī’s head. When it feeds on another flower of the same species, a sticky stigma-tipped style will brush the same spot, picking up pollen.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
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Source: Charles McCann, ‘The tui and its food plants.’ Notornis 5, no. 1 (July 1952): 6–14, www.notornis.org.nz/free_issues/Notornis_05-1952/Notornis_5_1.pdf