Funckia trinervia (Kirk) Kuntze
Common Name: Kauri Grass
Astelia trinervia is a clump-forming evergreen perennial plant, spreading by short, thick rhizomes; it produces rosettes of sword-shaped leaves around 100 - 300cm long and 20 - 45mm wide, with flowering stems 45 - 200 cm long[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of materials.
New Zealand - North Island
Forests, occasionally growing as an epiphyte on lower parts of trees[
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Astelia trinervia is found in the warm temperatel region 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[
Species in this genus generally require a damp humus-rich fertile soil in sun or semi-shade, sheltered from cold drying winds[
]. This is a coastal species, and so should be tolerant of moist, often strong and salt-laden maritime winds[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
The leaves have been used extensively for thatching[
A fibre obtained from the plant makes a good quality paper. Said to be superior to that obtained fom Phormium tenax[
The delicate pellicle (thin film or cuticle) with which they are invested has been worked into a charming trimming for ladies' bonnets[
]. This pellicle has been used for the wicks of bush-manufactured candles[
Cut leaves exude a large quantity of dark jelly-like gum[
]. No uses have been specified.
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[