Aciphylla squarrosa (Common Speargrass)
Species: A. squarrosa
Binominal name: Aciphylla squarrosa
Common names: Common Speargrass, Kurikuri, Taramea, The Spaniard,
Aciphylla squarrosa is native to New Zealand is found in both North Island and South Island in coastal to low-alpine areas from East Cape to North Canterbury. A. squarrosa can withstand temperatures down to -28º C.
It forms a dense cluster up to 1m high of spiky three-pinnate leaves. The narrow blue-green leaves are highly divided with rigid serrated or crenulated margins and midrib and with pungent tips. These will pierce tramping boots.
During November to January sweet scented star-shaped yellow flowers on compound umbels are carried on a stalk up 1 m high. These stalks are also covered in razor sharp spears presumably as a defense against animals such as the now extinct moa from eating it.
To see how the Maori used this plant visit: http://maoriplantuse.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/PeoplePlantsDetails.aspx?PKey=11c60d30-777a-40cd-9ba6-d3ccd073d8bd
Photographed at Otari wilton Reserve, Wellington
Photographed November at Otari Wilton Bush Reseve
Photographed at Te Kainga Marire Gardensat Spencer Place