Story: Native plants and animals – overview

Vegetable sheep (3rd of 3)

Vegetable sheep

Raoulia rubra is a species of cushion plant known as a vegetable sheep. This specimen from the Anatoki Range in north-west Kahurangi National Park is in flower. The plants are found in dry, rocky alpine areas in the North and South islands. Vegetable sheep are named for their similarity to woolly sheep, but they are actually hard to the touch. The ‘woolly’ leaves prevent water being lost through drying winds. Beneath them are the remains of old, rotted leaves, which form a mass of peat-like material that holds water like a sponge.

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Photograph by Maggy Wassilieff

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How to cite this page:

Bob Brockie, 'Native plants and animals – overview - Alpine, wetland and coastal plants', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 September 2023)

Story by Bob Brockie, published 24 Sep 2007