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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

More About Plant Testing

More About Plant Testing.

This department, to which I have already referred, is under the care of Mr Green, and is likely to prove a field of experimentation of the greatest practical value. Mr Green is admirably adapted for the work of his department, being a competent botanist, and at the same time a trained practical horticulturist and gardener. The scope of the plant-testing experiments ranges from pasture grasses and green forage plants to vegetables for the kitchen garden—including the many varieties of native flax (Phormium tenax). There are more varieties of this important fibre plant propagated and tested for weight and quality of fibre at Ruakura than anywhere else in New Zealand. Considering the commercial importance of the flax industry to this country, a knowledge of the characteristics of the several varieties of phormium indigenous to this country is likely to prove of great practical value when the time comes, as it is certain to come, when this valuable fibre plant will be deliberately cultivated for profit, instead of, as at present, allowing the industry to remain entirely dependent upon the wild growth for a supply of leaf for the mills.