Native plants


Scientific name: Collospermum hastatum
Maori name: Kahakaha
English name: Tank lily
Other names: Widowmaker, perching lily

Pioneer Other plant - native to the Wellington Region
Suits: dry, shade, partial shade, sunny, shelter, exposure, coastal forest garden, small garden or balcony, wetlands and water features

About Collospermum

The largest and most magnificent of our native epiphytic plants. Often seen on large trees, but can also grow on the ground, fallen trunks, rocks and cliffs. Lime or bronze green long leaves and a black base, wiht stiff leaves up to 1,5 metre. Its V-shaped leaves are ridged to channel the water into the leafy reservoir, similar to the bromeliads of the tropical Americas. One of our native species of mosquitoes breeds exclusively in this small reservoir of water.

Collospernum has male and female flowers on separate plants which are both needed if fruit is wanted . Creamy colored flowers in 30 cm long plyms in January to March and yellow to red fruits from March to August. The fruits with seeds are quickly eaten and spread by native birds like tui and kereru, while nectar is a food source for our native bats.

Collospermum works well in shady to sunny areas. Not commonly thought of as a garden plant, but it makes a striking species for both the forks of trees and extremely well-drained situations like a hanging basket.

It was called the "Widow maker" by the early New Zealand timber men because of it falling on them when they were cutting down the native trees that hosted them.

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
  • Complexity and height
  • Nectar
  • Fruit
  • Ground cover for retreat
  • Protection from predators

Read more about gardening for lizards.

More detail