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Phormium tenax
A tui on a stalk of P. tenax flowers.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Hemerocallidaceae
Genus: Phormium
Species: P. tenax
Binomial name
Phormium tenax
J.R.Forst.. & G.Forst.

Phormium tenax (harakeke in Māori, New Zealand flax) is an evergreen perennial plant native to New Zealand and Norfolk Island that is an important fibre plant and a popular ornamental plant.[1] The plant grows as a clump of long, straplike leaves, up to two meters long, from which arises a much taller flowering shoot, with dramatic yellow or red flowers.[1]



The jumping spider Trite planiceps lives predominantly in the rolled-up leaves of this species. Phormium tenax is a coastal cover plant associated with significant habitat such as the breeding habitat for the endangered Yellow-eyed Penguin.[2]


Several forms of this species have been selected for cultivation including:[3]

  • 'Bronze Baby' - arching bronze leaves, 2 to 3 foot plant.
  • 'Dazzler' - arching leaves that are bronze-maroon with red and pink stripes, plant reaches 3 feet in height.
  • 'Sundrowner' - 6 foot tall plant, leaves are striped with bronze, green and rose-pink.


  1. ^ a b Roger Holmes and Lance Walheim. 2005. California Home Landscaping, Creative Homeowner Press ISBN 9781580112543
  2. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Yellow-eyed Penguin: Megadypes antipodes,, ed. N. Stromberg
  3. ^ Frances Tenenbaum. 2003. "Taylor's Encyclopedia of Garden Plants", Houghton Mifflin Company ISBN 0618226443

Further reading

  • James Hector. 1889. Phormium tenax as a fibrous plant, second edition, New Zealand. Geological Survey Dept, New Zealand, published by G. Didsbury, Government Printer, 95 pages


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales
Familia: Hemerocallidaceae
Genus: Phormium
Species: Phormium tenax


Phormium tenax J.R.Forst. & G.Forst., Char. Gen. Pl. 48, t. 24. 1776.


  • Chlamydia tenacissima Gaertn., Fruct. sem. pl. vol. 1, 71. t. 18. 1788.
  • Phormium alpinum Hort. ex Wien. Ill. Gart.-Zeit. 15:448, 1890 nom. inval.
  • Phormium atropurpureum Hort., Vilm. Blumengärtn., ed. 3. 1: 1072, in syn. 1895.
  • Phormium flaccidum Hort. ex Wien. Ill. Gart.-Zeit. 15:448, 1890 nom. inval.
  • Phormium hursthonsii Hort. ex Wien. Ill. Gart.-Zeit. 15:448, 1890 nom. inval.
  • Phormium ramosum Billb., in Linnerska Samfund vol. 1, 1832, 22. 1833.
  • Phormium robustum Hort. ex Wien. Ill. Gart.-Zeit. 15:448, 1890 nom. inval.


  • Landcare Research New Zealand Limited. Flora of New Zealand. 2009 Mar 04 [1].


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