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Useful Temperate Plants

Astelia banksii

A.Cunn.

Asteliaceae

+ Synonyms

Astelia latifolia Jacques

Astelia richardii Endl.

Astelia sericea Banks & Sol. ex Hook.f.

Common Name: Kowharawhara

No Image.

General Information

Astelia banksii is a clump-forming evergreen perennial plant, spreading by short, thick rhizomes; it produces rosettes of sword-shaped leaves around 100 - 250cm long and 30 - 45mm wide, with flowering stems up to 100cm long[
44
Title
Flora of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Allan. H. H.
Website
http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%201.xml
Publisher
Government Printer, Wellington.
Year
1961
ISBN
-
Description
The standard work, in 5 volumes though only the first two are of interest to the plant project. Very good on habitats. There is also an on-line version.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

44
Title
Flora of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Allan. H. H.
Website
http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%201.xml
Publisher
Government Printer, Wellington.
Year
1961
ISBN
-
Description
The standard work, in 5 volumes though only the first two are of interest to the plant project. Very good on habitats. There is also an on-line version.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

New Zealand - North Island

Habitat

Coastal habitats, or occasionally on inland cliffs exposed to winds off the sea[
44
Title
Flora of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Allan. H. H.
Website
http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%201.xml
Publisher
Government Printer, Wellington.
Year
1961
ISBN
-
Description
The standard work, in 5 volumes though only the first two are of interest to the plant project. Very good on habitats. There is also an on-line version.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height1.50 m
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Astelia banksii is found in coastal regions of northern New Zealand, where it experiences mild, moist winters and moist summers. It does experience frosts and can tolerate occasional, short-lived temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c, perhaps even lower if given shelter from cold drying winds[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Species in this genus generally require a damp humus-rich fertile soil in sun or semi-shade, sheltered from cold drying winds[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. This is a coastal species, and so should be tolerant of moist, often strong and salt-laden maritime winds[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw. A sweet flavour with a viscid consistency[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
]. The fruit is like a small red currant with a small black seed in it. It is produced in bunches. The handsome, deep purple fruit is much eaten by the Maori[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
]. The fruit is around 8mm × 6.5 mm., opaque, bright green, then whitish, most or all of surface becoming flushed with magenta on ripening[
44
Title
Flora of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Allan. H. H.
Website
http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%201.xml
Publisher
Government Printer, Wellington.
Year
1961
ISBN
-
Description
The standard work, in 5 volumes though only the first two are of interest to the plant project. Very good on habitats. There is also an on-line version.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The plant, in combination with several other species, is used in plaiting baskets to give different hues[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
]. The long, slender leaves of this species are used, but not frequently[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
]
The plant is used by forest travellers as temporary baskets for food, or as mats to cover the food in a hangi[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
].

The leaves are rich in fibre that is suitable for ropes, making paper etc. The fibre is of a dirty yellow colour, the filaments exceedingly coarse and wiry, rather brittle when bent sharply, but of considerable strength when tested with a lateral strain[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
It affords a material superior to Phormium tenax for the manufacture of paper'[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
]

The shaggy leaf-bases of this and other species in the genus are said to have been made into mantles by the Maoris[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
]. In softness their silky covering rivals the finest swan down[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow late winter in a greenhouse. Germination can be very slow, sometimes taking more than 12 months.
When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade for at least the first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in late spring or early summer once they are 15cm or more tall.
Division in spring[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2022-09-30. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Astelia+banksii>

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