Story: Flax and flax working

New Zealand flax species

New Zealand flax species

There are two species of New Zealand flax. Phormium tenax (left), also known as harakeke or swamp flax, has stiff leaves, red flowers, and upright seed pods. It grows mainly on lowland swamps throughout New Zealand. Phormium cookianum (right), also known as wharariki or mountain flax, has softer leaves and yellow flowers. The seed pods droop and twist, becoming thin and papery with age. This species is found on mountain slopes and coastal cliffs.

About this item

Landcare Research – Manaaki Whenua
Photographs by Robert Lamberts and Sue Scheele

© Copyright image. All rights reserved. Permission from Manaaki Whenua: Landcare Research New Zealand Limited must be obtained before the re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Flax and flax working - New Zealand flax', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/10377/new-zealand-flax-species (accessed 20 January 2018)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 24 Sep 2007