T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Astelia solandri (Kowharawhara)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asteliaceae
Genus: Astelia
Species: A. solandri
Binomial name: Astelia solandri
Common name: Kowharawhara - Perching Astelia

Astelia solandri is an evergreen rhizomatous perennial commonly growing as a tufted as epiphytes on aging trees but it also occasionally grows on the ground. One of 13 native species of astelia in NZ this is the only one that commonly perches. The species generally grow in forests, swamps and amongst low alpine vegetation. It is common in the Kamahi forests on Mt. Taranaki.
It has leaves up to 1-2m long and they are narrow, silvery beneath, with three deep grooves.
The yellowish white, sweetly scented flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be present if seeds are to be produced.) The plant is not self-fertile.
It develops small, rounded fruit which are a translucent green to yellow or brown.



Astelia solandri usually grows as an epiphyte. Photos of one growing on the grouind at Otari-Wilton's Bush Wellington New Zealand.
 

Astelia solandri  flowers are originally a creamy yellow but change to a pink colour with age.
  

Topside of leaf
 

Underside of leaf.