New Zealand Flax

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New Zealand Flax

 

(Phormium tenax), a perennial herb of the Liliaceae family, sometimes classified in the Agavaceae family. It has sword-shaped leaves up to three m long arranged in two rows on a short stem. The branched blossom cluster, 1.5–4.5 m high, bears 250–460 red or yellow flowers, which are pollinated by birds. The fruit is a three-faceted pod. The leaves contain a strong fiber used for making twine, rope, ship rigging, and matting. New Zealand flax is native to New Zealand and Norfolk Island, where it grows in large thickets on moist plains and mountain slopes. It can withstand temperatures of –10°C. The plant is raised for both industrial and decorative purposes in many subtropical countries. In the Caucasus, along the Black Sea, New Zealand flax is grown in gardens and parks and on small plantations.