("Mountain Flax" / "Wharariki")
Summer 2016 discovery:
A well-established specimen of this plant bloomed summer 2016 in
the garden of an early home on Shaw Island.
It is one of only two species in the Phormium genus.
Photo from the University of Washington Botanical Garden.
Thank you, Kathleen DeMaria.
Common Name: "Mountain Flax"; "Wharariki"
Life cycle: Evergreen perennial
Native Growing Region: New Zealand. One of the first plants to be described for science by the botanist on Captain Cook's second expedition to New Zealand that landed in 1773.
Flower Color: Yellow
Blooming: June and July in the Pacific Northwest. This year of 2016 is the first time the specimen bloomed at the UW Botanical Garden in Seattle. Their plant was raised from seed.
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Winter Hardiness: 15°-20°
Water Needs: Medium
Tolerates: Deer and rabbits.
Attracts: The flowers produce a lot of nectar that attracts birds and pollinating insects to the garden.
Attributes: A versatile plant that tolerates a wide range of conditions. Historically, a hugely important fiber plant for fibers for clothes, baskets––
For a dramatic ornamental with tropical foliage in the garden; seed pods add flair to large flower arrangements.
Nice strong understory plant that is non-poisonous to humans and animals. The root system is good for erosion control.
Best sown in late autumn. Sow in plug trays under glass to increase germination rate in spring. (It can take 1-6 months.) Temperature c. 63°F. Supply a weak potassium permanganate solution to prevent die back.
|AKA 'Mountain Flax" or "Wharariki" (Maori)|
from a well-established plant growing in the marine climate
of Shaw Island. Seed packets will be for sale at the
Gatehouse, Squaw Bay Road, Shaw Island.