Forest Vines to Snow Tussocks: The Story of New Zealand Plants
Two species of decidedly tropical aspect reach the northern South Island, although they are never far from the sea in the southern parts of their ranges. These are kohekohe (Dysoxylum spectabile) with its large, pinnately compound leaves and our sole native species of palm the nikau (Rhopalostylis sapida)61 (Fig. 60).
A few other small trees prefer higher altitudes in northern New Zealand and they include broadleaf (Griselinia littoralis) and the mountain cabbage tree (Cordyline indirisa). The latter with its unbranched trunk and massive head of broad, silvery-green leaves is certainly the most handsome of our cordylines (Fig. 61). It looks as if it would be at home on a tropical strand, so it seems strange that it should favour moister, cooler, montane forests.