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Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand

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100 Best NZ Native Plants for Gardens

 100 Best NZ Native Plants for Gardens

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 Phormium tenax
0417 - Phormium tenax. Flax. Harakeke

Flax was once an important crop cultivated for its fibre. Phormium reproduces asexually by the production of offshoots with the typical plant consisting of tens of offshoots both from the original seedling  and from subsequent offshoots. Reproduction by offshoots is the most common form of horticultural nursery reproduction.
Sexual reproduction is by large upright inflorescences up to 5 metres tall. Flowering varies from year to year. Strength of flowering seems to be correlated with high temperatures in March and June the autumn before flowering. Production of an inflorescence by an individual offset prevented subsequent vegetative growth of that offset. Flowering of offsets eventually leads to their death.
All flowers are hermaphrodites, being functionally male and female. The flower's male parts develop first changing to female a week or so later.  This ensures a high level of pollination from another plant. The plant does not want to pollinate itself so being hermaphrodite means the female stigmas are receptive to pollen once its own pollen has been shed.
  The capsules produced by the flowers have 2 types of seed. Those seeds which are the results of self pollination are generally small and infertile while those that result from cross pollination are large, with a fully developed embryo and an attached wing for wind dispersal.
Sow from February in a glasshouse and germination should be effected within 2 months. The seedlings show a large amount of variation in size and colour of the leaves.
Phormium tenax
Flax flowers and foliage

Phormium cookianum

Coastal or mountain flax differs to Phormium tenax in the seed pods fall down- pendulous- and the plant has smaller and softer leaves


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I recommend the following books on New Zealand native plants
100 Best NZ Native Plants for Gardens
The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Native Trees
Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand
Gardener's Encyclopaedia of NZ Native Plants
A Photographic Guide to Ferns of New Zealand
New Zealand Trees and Shrubs: A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivation and Identification
From Weta to Kauri: A Guide to the NZ Forest
Which Native Forest Plant? (Which S.)