New Zealand Flax

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Related to Phormium cookianum: Mountain flax

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.

References in periodicals archive ?
In it designer Kate Rainer takes a grey backdrop to create a foil for a vivid and exciting colour scheme, including shocking pink roses, Agapanthus and the burgundy Phormium cookianum 'Dazzler', clean and crisp rather than soft and wispy as has been the trend in recent years.
By far the best is the plain green Phormium tenax, although the smaller gold and green striped Phormium cookianum would be reliably hardy in sheltered gardens.
The New Zealand flax (Phormium cookianum Tricolor) is on the tender side, but worth growing for the cream, red and green of its sword-like leaves which brighten even the dullest day.
Variegata has striking green leaves edged in creamy yellow and Phormium cookianum is smaller with arching leaves, with a good range of hybrids in striking colours.