Real World Gardener New Zealand plants in Australia

November 30th, 2018


New Zealand Plants in Australia

You may not know that Australia was once joined to New Zealand.

Does this explain some plants that are similar because they were left when the continents drifted apart ever so slowly?

Or was it the fashion of the day to bring over plants from other countries when the colonials started setting up their ornamental gardens?

Let’s find out why NZ plants have made their mark.

I'm talking with Stuart Read who’s a member of the National Management Committee of the Australian Garden History Society.PLAY : NZ Plants History_21stNovember 2018

 New Zealand plants it turns out, mostly came across to Australia in the 1800's.

nz-christmas%2Bbush.jpgPhormium tenax, or New Zealand flax plant is one example; this plant remains fashionable today because of its sculptural qualities that fit into modernist homes.

Apart from failing to learn the techniques of rope making using flax, gardeners even today, use this plant far and wide, not just in Australia.

 Cordyline australis or palm lily is another example, called Torquay palm in England because they think it's theirs.

The australis part of the scientific name reflects that it is from Australia, but in this case means "of the south" in a general sense.

Cabbage tree or palm lily has an exotic look and the buds of which were cut off and used as boiled cabbage.

Having more than one growth bud, it didn't kill off the plant.

Stuart remembers how the streets were lined with NZ Christmas bush where he grew up.

Plants in the myrtle family have many similarities, for example, Pohutakawa or NZ Christmas bush has the same type of flowers as our lilly pillies and bottle brush.


If you have any questions, either for me or for Stuart, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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