Scientific Name:
Phormium tenax J.R.Forst. & G.Forst., Char. Gen. Pl., ed. 2. t. 24 (1776)
Vernacular Name(s):
Flax; Harakeke; Harareke; Kōrari; Lowland flax; New Zealand flax; Swamp flax

Lvs 1–3 m. × 5–12 cm., stiff and ± erect, at least in lower part; butt heavy and us. brightly coloured. Infl. to 5–(6) m. tall; peduncle c. 2–3 cm. diam., us. erect, dark, terete, glab. Fls 2.5–5 cm. long, predominantly dull red; tips of inner tepals only slightly recurved. Ovary erect; carpels straight. Capsule us. < 10 cm. long, often much less, erect, trigonous, abruptly contracted to tip, not twisted, remaining firm and dark in age. Seeds c. 9–10 × 4–5 mm., ± elliptic, plate-like but ± twisted. 2n = 32.

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

Indigenous (Endemic)

Flowering: Nov.–Dec.; Fruiting: Jan.–Mar.

Coyne, P. 2009: Phormium tenax (New Zealand Flax) — Norfolk Island native? Cunninghamia: 167–170.
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]
Forster, J.R.; Forster, G. 1776: Characteres Generum Plantarum quas in Itinere ad Insulas Maris Australis Collegerunt, Descripserunt, Delinearunt, Annis. Edition 2. White, Cadell & Elmsley, London.
Macphail, M.K.; Hope, G.S.; Anderson, A. 2001: Polynesian plant introductions in the Southwest Pacific: Initial pollen evidence from Norfolk Island. Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 27: 123–134.
Smissen, R.D.; Scheele, S.M. 2022: Plastid genome sequences are consistent with introduction of Phormium tenax to Norfolk Island and Chatham Islands by early East Polynesian voyagers but not vicariance explanations. New Zealand Journal of Botany 60(4): 429–447.