Splendid Isolation – 46

Rata growing on host tree. Watercolour sketch
Rata growing on host tree. Watercolour sketch
Rata embrace

Rata is a fascinating tree. It grows from a seed lodged on its host, sending down roots that embrace the host tree, eventually encircling it and creating a hollow trunk when its host dies. There seems to be some debate as to whether Rata strangles its host or simply grows on an already old tree in a type of symbiotic relationship. In The Grove scenic reserve (see my previous post), some Rata also embrace rocks with stout, long, tendril-like roots that extend for several metres in all directions before meeting the ground.

Some Irish weather today, dull and damp. I cycled from Takaka to Clifton this morning in around 30 minutes. Golden Bay has good cycle tracks and motorists seem considerate too but my knees had nearly forgotten about cycling until today!

Yesterday I received a parcel with my studio paintbox and three paper blocks sent by our wonderful house-sitter Sue. Like long lost friends, they arrived having travelled around the world by a circuitous route. The Arches paper I used for the first time today is wonderful!


  1. lorrainehg

    Peter, this is one of your best, love the richness of colour and the entwining limbs

  2. Ashley

    You have captured the “hug” so very well. This painting looks like it has been done by a new artist; the plant is almost flowing out of the ground. In fact there is something of the animal in it.

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