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Manual of the New Zealand Flora.

3. Cordyline, Comm

3. Cordyline, Comm.

Trees or shrubs; trunk long or short, sometimes almost wanting. Leaves crowded at the top of the stem or its branches, more rarely alternate along the stem, sessile or petioled, very long, coriaceous; veins parallel, more or less oblique to the midrib. Flowers-hermaphrodite, in terminal much-branched panicles, solitary or page 705fascicled along the branches, shortly pedicellate or almost sessile. Perianth narrow-campanulate or cylindric, 6-partite; segments narrow, all equal or the 3 inner rather longer. Stamens 6, inserted at the base of the segments, shorter or longer than them; filaments filiform or flattened; anthers narrow-oblong, dorsifixed. Ovary 3-ceiled; style filiform; stigma capitate or shortly 3-lobed; ovules-numerous (4–16) in each cell. Berry globose, 3-celled, at first more or less succulent, but often dry when the seeds are fully ripe. Seeds few or many in each cell, sometimes solitary by abortion, usually curved; testa black, shining.

About 10 or 12 species are known, scattered through India, Malaya, Poly nesia, and New Zealand, together with one species in South America. With the exception of the wide-ranging C. terminalis, all the species found in New Zealand are endemic.

A. Leaves contracted into a long and narrow canaliculate petiole.

Leaves 1–2½ ft., broadly oblanceolate or narrow-oblong; lateral veins fine. Panicle 1–2 ft.; branches simple, spreading. Flowers lilac 1. C. terminalis
Leaves 3–6 ft., linear-lanceolate; lateral veins strong, pro- minent. Panicle 2–5 ft., much branched. Flowers white 2. C. Banksii.

B. Leaves sessile, ensiform, not contracted into a conspicuous "petiole.

Stem 15–40 ft. Leaves 1½–3 ft. x 1½–2½ in., rather thin; lateral veins fine, green 3. C. australis.
Stem 5–20 ft. Leaves 2–6 ft. x 4.-6 in., excessively thick and coriaceous; lateral veins coarse, conspicuous, red or yellow 4. C. indivisa.
Stem wanting or very short. Leaves 1–3 ft. x ¼–⅔ in., narrow-linear 5. C. pumilio.
1.C. terminalis, Kunth in Abh. Acad. Berl. (1820) 30.—Stern slender, 3–8 ft. high. Leaves numerous, crowded, 1–2½ ft. long,. 2–5 in. broad, broadly oblanceolate or almost oblong, acute or acuminate, gradually narrowed into a long petiole, thinly coriaceous, pale-green, midrib distinct beneath but obscure above; lateral veins numerous, fine, distinct, oblique; petiole 2–6 in. long, deeply canaliculated above, obtusely keeled beneath, dilated and sheathing at the base. Panicle 1–2 ft. long, broad, laxly branched;, branches spreading, the lower ones again divided. Flowers solitary or 2–3 together along the branches of the panicle, sessile or very shortly pedicelled, ⅓ in. long, lilac; bracteoles 3, small, deltoid. Perianth-segments equal, longer than the tube. Stamens not ex-ceeding the segments. Berry globose, ⅓ in. diam.—Benth. Fl. Austral. vii. 21; Gheesem. in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xx. (1888) 174. C. Cheesemanii, T. Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst, xxviii. (1896) 508.

Kermadec Islands: Lower portions of Sunday Island, not common,. T. F. C. North Island: Formerly cultivated by the Maoris in the Bay of Islands and other northern districts, now nearly extinct. Ti-pore. July–September.

page 706

A most abundant plant throughout Polynesia, and stretching northwards through Queensland and New Guinea to Malaya and India. I have examined the specimens, cultivated in Mr. Reid's garden at Ahipara, upon which Mr. Kirk founded his C. Cheesemanii. They differ in no respect from the common Polynesian form of C. terminalis, and as they were found in an abandoned Maori cultivation they can only be looked upon as survivors from a period when the species was grown by the Maoris for food-purposes. Archdeacon Walsh (Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxxiii. 301) mentions other instances of G. terminalis having been found in old Maori cultivations, and argues with much probability that the plant was originally introduced by the Maoris on their first colonisation of New Zealand.

2.C. Banksii, Hook. f. in Gard. Chron. (1860) 792.—Stems slender, simple or sparingly branched, or several from the base forming large clumps, 4–10 ft. high. Leaves numerous, very long, erect below, drooping towards the tips, 3–6 ft. or even more, 1½ -3½in. broad at the middle, linear-lanceolate, acuminate, gradu-ally contracted into a petiole 1–2 ft. long, striate and obliquely many-nerved, 4–8 of the nerves on each side of the midrib stronger than the rest and either green or red or yellowish; midrib stout, flat above, prominent and rounded beneath; petiole deeply chan-nelled above, rounded beneath. Panicles one or several to each stem, suberect or drooping, very large and lax, much and diffusely branched, 2–5 ft. long. Flowers longer and narrower than in C. australis, and not so closely placed, nearly ½ in. long, white, sessile or nearly so; bracteoles very small. Berry globose, ⅓ in. diam., white. Seeds 2–3 in each cell.—Handb. N.Z. Fl. 282; Regel in Gartenfl. t. 344. C. Beuckelaerii, C. Koch, Wochenschr. viii. (1865) 91. C. erythrorhachis, Hori. ex Baker in Joum. Linn. Soc. xiv. (1875) 541. C. diffusa, Col. in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xv. (1883) 330.

North and South Islands: Abundant from the North Cape to Marl-borough, Nelson, and Westland. Sea-level to 3500 ft. Ti-ngahere. No-vember-December.

A very distinct species, easily recognised by the large many-nerved leaves gradually narrowed into long slender petioles, large lax panicles, and long narrow flowers.

3.C. australis, Rook. f. in Gard. Chron. (1860) 792.— Variable in size and habit. Stems of young trees straight, erect, unbranched; of mature ones much branched above or more rarely from the base, 15–40 ft. high; trunk 1–5 ft. diam.; bark thick, rough and fissured. Leaves of young plants scattered along the stem, 1–2 ft. long, ½–1 in. broad; of older plants forming a dense round head at the top of the stem or branches, 1½–3 ft. long, 1½–3½ in. broad, ensiform, acute or acuminate, contracted just above the broad sheathing base but not petiolate, flat, firm, coria- ceous; midrib indistinct; veins numerous, fine, parallel. Panicles terminal, erect or drooping, large, 2–4 ft. long, 1–2 ft. diam., much page 707and repeatedly branched; branches spreading, with long lanceolate bracts at the base. Flowers ¼–⅓ in. diam., crowded, white, sweet-scented, very shortly pedicelled; bracteoles 3, ovate-deltoid. Peri-anth-segments linear-oblong, obtuse, recurved. Stamens almost equalling the segments; anthers oblong. Style subulate; stigma 3-cuspidate. Berry white or bluish-white, globose, ¼ in. diam. Seeds 1–3 in each cell, black, angled.—Handb. N.Z. Fl. 281; Bot. Mag. t. 5636 (not t. 2835); Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 141. C. super-biens, C. Koch, Wochen. (1859) 381. C. indivisa, Regel, Gartenfi. (1859) 331 (not of Steud.). C. lentiginosa, Linden and Andre, Illustr. Hort. xvii. (1870) t. 35. C. Veitchii, Regel, Gartenfi. (1871) 149. C. calocoma, Hort. ex Baker, Journ. Linn. Soc. xiv. (1875) 542. G. Forsteri, F. Muell. Select PI. 58. C. Sturmii, Col. in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xv. (1883) 331. Dracaena australis, Forst. Prodr. n. 151; A. Rich. Fl. Nouv. Zel. 149. Dracænopsis australis, Planch, in Fl. des Serves (1850–51) sub. t. 569.

North and South Islands: Abundant throughout. Stewart Island: Rare, Kirk. Sea-level to 2500 fc. Ti; Ti-kauka; Ti-rahau; Palm-lily. November–January.

Universally known to New Zealand residents by the inappropriate name of "cabbage-tree" The foliage yields a strong and durable fibre, and has been recommended for paper-making. Largely planted for scenic effect in gardens and shrubberies, and extensively grown for decorative purposes in Europe. Varieties with bronzy or variegated foliage are occasionally seen. Mr. Oolenso's C. Sturmii has broader and thinner leaves, and may be entitled to recognition as a variety, but at present I am only acquainted with it through a single indifferent specimen.

4.C. indivisa, Steud. Nom. ed. ii., i. 419.—Stem stout, erect, rarely branched, 5–25 ft. high. Leaves very numerous, spreading all round and forming an enormous massive head, 2–6 ft. long, 4–6 in. broad at the middle, broadly ensiform, acuminate, usually contracted below and again expanded at the sheathing base, excessively thick and coriaceous, flat, greenish with a faint purplish or reddish tint above, glaucous beneath, midrib very thick and prominent at the base, but gradually decreasing in size upwards, lateral veins very numerous, strong, parallel, oblique to the midrib and with it usually coloured red or reddish-yellow. Panicle very large, densely branched, pendulous, 2–4 ft. long including the stout peduncle; bracts at the base broad, massive, the lower ones usually exceeding the panicle; branches very close-set, divided at the base, simple above, 1 in. across with the flowers on. Flowers shortly pedicelled, densely crowded, ⅓ in. long, white; bracteoles of the lower flowers sometimes equalling them, of the upper ones minute. Perianth-tube campanulate; segments sharply recurved. Anthers broadly oblong. Berry ¼ in. diam., globose, bluish. Seeds 5–6 in each cell, angled; testa black, shining.—Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 258; Gard. Chron. (1860) 792; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 282. C. Hookeri, page 708Kirk in Trans. N.Z. Inst. vi. (1874) 245. C. Hectori, Col. in Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxv. (1893) 334. Dracsena indivisa, Forst. Prodr. n. 150; PL Escul. n. 33; A. Rich. Fl. Nouv. Zel. 148; A. Cunn. Precur. n. 301.

North Island: Mountain districts from the Thames goldfields and Te Aroha southwards. South Island: Along the western side from Collingwood and Westport to Dusky Sound. 1500–4000 ft. Toil. December–January.

By far the finest species of the genus. I have followed Sir J. D. Hooker in considering the plant common in subalpine localities in the North Island and north-west portion of the South Island to be the same as Forster's Dracœna indivisa, originally gathered in Dusky Sound. Most New Zealand botanists, however, treat the two forms as distinct, apparently on the ground of the sup-posed larger and longer flowers of the southern plant. But, so far as I am aware, flowering specimens of Forster's plant do not exist in any New Zealand herbarium, and the earlier descriptions are in conflict with one another as to the size of the flower. As there is little, if any, difference in habit or foliage, it appears to me that the most prudent course is to keep the two plants together until a thorough comparison of their characters can be made.

5.C. pumilio, Rook. f. in Gard. Chron. (1860) 792.—Small, usually stemless, but in some varieties with a short slender stem 1–3 ft. high, Leaves very numerous, densely rosulate, 1–3 ft. long, ¼–⅔ in. broad, narrow-linear, acuminate, coriaceous; lateral veins several, evident, parallel; midrib stout, prominent on both sur-faces; margins often finely scaberulous. Panicles terminal, erect or inclined, very slender, laxly branched, 1–3 ft. long; branches long, slender, spreading. Flowers irregularly scattered along the branches, rather remote, shortly pedicelled, small, white or bluish-white, ⅕ in. diam.; pedicels variable in length. Perianth-seg-ments oblong, obtuse. Berry globose, ⅕ in. diam., bluish-white. Seeds 1 or 2 in each cell.—Handb. N.Z. FL 282. C. stricta, Hook.f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 257, t. 58 (not of EndL).

Noeth Island: From the North Cape to Wellington, but rare and local to the south of the East Cape. Sea-level to 1500 ft. Ti-rauriki. Novem-ber-December.

A variable plant, but well marked by the small size, usually stemless habit, narrow leaves, lax slender panicle, and small flowers. The roots are fleshy and saccharine, and were formerly cooked and eaten by the Maoris.