Native plants

Cabbage tree

cabbage trees
perfumed small white flowers Single cabbage tree Cabbage tree trunk

Scientific name: Cordyline australis
Maori name: Ti kouka

Pioneer Tree (10m - 15m) - native to the Wellington Region
Suits: damp, dry, partial shade, sunny, shelter, exposure, coastal forest garden, coastal and dune garden, small garden or balcony, wetlands and water features

About Cabbage tree

Early European explorers of New Zealand described "jungles of cabbage trees" along the banks of streams and rivers, in huge swamps and lowland valleys.Probably our most iconic plant. The endemic (found naturally only in NZ) Cabbage tree or Ti kouka as it is sometimes known as is proably one of our most planted plants in kiwi gardens. Palm like with a stout trunk and sword shaped leaves and with flowering spikes (inflorescences) up to 1 metre (3 ft) long. Each inflorescence bears 5,000 to 10,000 of sweetly perfumed small white flowers from September to December. Bark is rough with a corky feel ranging from pale to dark grey. Flowers are followed by a small white fruit popular with native birds. A thick circle of old dead leaves often surrounds the trunk just below the crown in sheltered areas. The fallen leaves raise the fertility of the soil when breaking down.

The easy to care for, sweetly perfumed flowerd and providing great food for wildlife makes this a must have plant in every garden. Even growing excellent in pots and tubs. Very hardy and will tolerate most soils and moisture.

Provides for birds

  Nectar Fruit Seeds
Key . . .

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Read more about gardening for birds or see full nectar calendar.

Provides for lizards

  • Clump forming for camouflage and insects

Read more about gardening for lizards.

More detail