British navigator James Cook bestowed the name 'cabbage tree' on the giant New Zealand tree lily Cordyline australis, which Māori called tī kōuka. Cook called it a cabbage tree because the young leaves are edible, and his name has stuck. In his diary on 29 October 1769 he wrote 'we ... found one Cabbage Tree which we cut down for the sake of the cabbage.' The felled cabbage tree was growing just south of Tokomaru Bay on the East Coast.
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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Jock Phillips
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