Scientific Name:
Astelia nervosa Hook.f., Bot. Antarct. Voy. II. (Fl. Nov.-Zel.) Part I, 260 (1853)
  • = Astelia nervosa var. montana Kirk ex Cheeseman, Man. New Zealand Fl. 714 (1906)
  • Astelia montana (Kirk ex Cheeseman) Cockayne, Rep. Bot. Survey Tongariro Natl. Park 36 (1908) nom. illeg.
  • = Astelia cockaynei Cheeseman, Trans. & Proc. New Zealand Inst. 54: 565 (1923) – as Cockaynei
Vernacular Name(s):
Bush flax; Kakaha; Mountain astelia

Tufted plants often forming considerable colonies. Stem 1–2–(3) cm. diam. Lvs 50–150–(200) × 2–4–(6) cm., arched stiffly outwards and of firm texture, strongly keeled above the sheath; sheath to 8 cm. wide at base, thickly clad in scales; lamina adaxially green and covered with scales that form a continuous smooth transparent pellicle or are in parts or overall ruffled up into a white shaggy fur that obscures the green colour; abaxial surface with persistent indumentum of white or bronzed scales overlying a thin, hardly felted layer of wool and with lateral costae (1–2 on each side of midrib) not prominent. Infl. erect, most parts covered with scales; peduncle about = panicle, spathes longer; racemes us. < 12, all single or 2–3 in each of the 1–3 lowest spathes. Fls from light greenish fawn to very dark maroon, us. pedicellate and well spaced on relatively slender axes; tepals 4–6 × 2.5–4.5 mm., widely spreading in ♂, in ♀ curling outwards from deep per.-tube. Ovary 3-locular, pyriform. Fr. 8–15 × 5–8 mm., broadly ovate, various shades of orange to almost red, ± surrounded, at least until fully ripe, by ± fleshy scaly cup developed from per. n = 105.

[From:  Moore and Edgar (1970) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 2.]

Indigenous (Endemic)

Flowering: Oct.–Dec.; Fruiting: Feb.–May.

Cheeseman, T. F. 1923: New species of flowering-plants. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 54: 565–569.
Cheeseman, T.F. 1906: Manual of the New Zealand Flora. Government Printer, Wellington.
Cockayne, L. 1908: Report on a Botanical Survey of the Tongariro National Park. Government Printer, Wellington.
Connor, H.E. 1977: The Poisonous Plants in New Zealand. Edition 2. Government Printer, Wellington.
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Barkla J.W.; Courtney, S.P.; Champion, P.D.; Perrie, L.R.; Beadel, S.N.; Ford, K.A.; Breitwieser, I.; Schönberger, I.; Hindmarsh-Walls, R.; Heenan, P.B.; Ladley, K. 2018: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series. No. 22. [Not Threatened]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington. [Not Threatened]
Hooker, J.D. 1853: The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ships Erebus and Terror in the Years 1839–1843, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross. II. Flora Novae-Zelandiae. Part I. Flowering plants. Lovell Reeve, London.