Native plants


Up close of the sharp spines
Speargrass flower on Matiu/Somes Island Planted speargrass with Carex sp Sharp spines

Scientific name: Aciphylla squarrosa
Maori name: Taramea
Other names: Spaniard

Grass or similar, other plant - native to the Wellington Region
Suits: dry, sunny, exposure, coastal and dune garden

About Speargrass

A near iconic species of New Zealand growing in coastal conditions. These attractive plants can grow int a large size and are covered with sharp narrow spines like leaves. These sharp spines, are all pointing out from the centre of the plant that can sometimes grow up to 90 cm wide. Flowers are yellow and attached to a large spine covered head rising above the rest of the plant up to 1 metre.

A great plant for lizard gardens as it is hardy and tolerant and protectes lizards from predators like cats. Suitable to plant as individuals or in group. Also suitable to plant in trespassing areas to stop people from entering.

Due habitat loss and pest animals, speargrass is now uncommon in Wellington. Speargrass is also important hostplants for the Speargrass weevils, one of Wellington’s most rarest native animals.  The wellington population of the speargrass weevils is New Zealand’s only coastal population of the species.


Provides for lizards

  • Protection from predators

Read more about gardening for lizards.

More detail