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A Leaf from the Natural History of New Zealand



Nat. Ord. Orchideae.

Maikaika; there are several members of this family, which all produce edible roots; when roasted they are not page 97 unlike the potatoe, and are sometimes found as large as small kidney potatoes.

Pereiperei; this plant is only found in dense forests; it has tuberous roots, in size resembling the Kumara, but it is more prolific than even the potatoe; the tubers, when cooked, are sweet and mealy.

Nat. Ord. Asphodelae.

Harakeke, Phormium tenax; this plant, when in bloom, has the calyx of its flowers filled with honey, or, rather, with a sweet water, which the natives drink; one plant will produce nearly half a pint; at the root of the leaves is found a considerable quantity of semi-liquid gum, which is also eaten.

Rengarenga, Arthropodium cirratum; this is the New Zealand representative of the Lily, and is one of its most beautiful flowers; the root is large and fleshy, and is eaten.

Nat. Ord. Smilaceae.

Whanake, Ti, Cordyline Australis; there are several varieties of this tree, all of which have long tap roots, which the natives cook; they have then a bitter sweet taste; the early Missionaries brewed excellent beer from them; the tender shoots are also eaten, and, although rather bitter, make a wholesome dish; the Toi dracedra also has a large tap root, which is likewise eaten; the Kouka is another variety which may be used in a similar way.

Kiekie, Uriuri, Ori, Tiore, Patangatanga, Freycinetia Banksii; this plant is found in forests, whereit sometimes runs along the ground or climbs up the trees; it bears a male and female flower, the inner leaves of which are white, thick and fleshy; they are also tender and sweet and form a delicious fruit in Spring; in Autumn the pistils of the female flower, which are generally three, sometimes four in number, increase in size until they attain a length of nearly a foot, and a diameter of three inches; the outer skin is rough and very bitter, but when scraped off, it exposes the pulp of the fruit, which, when fully ripe, is very sweet and of an agreeable flavour; this may be considered by far the finest native fruit in New Zealand; the flower fruit is called Tawara, and is ripe in Spring; the other is called Pirori and Teure, and is in season at the commencement of Winter.

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Kowarawara, Astelia Banksii; this plant is an epiphyte and produces its fruit in bunches, which is like a small red currant, with a small black seed in it; it is sweet and viscid.

Kokaha; this plant resembles the former in leaf, but grows on the ground; its root is eaten.

Nat. Ord. Palmaceae.

Nikau, Miko, Areca sapida; the tender shoot is eaten, either raw or cooked; in the former state it has the taste of a nut.

Nat. Ord. Graminaceæ.

Pingao, Elymus; this is a coarse sedgy grass which runs over the sandhills in the vicinity of the sea, principally on the West coast; the tender shoot is sweet and palatable, and is eaten.

Nat. Ord. Cyperaceae Typhaceae.

Raupo, Typha angustifolia; the root, Korere, of this sedge runs deep in the swamps and attains a considerable size; it is white, tender, and cellular, filled with a fine mealy substance, which is eaten.