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 ageing 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 is a translucent green to yellow or brown.

Astelia solandri usually grows as an epiphyte. Photos of one growing on the ground 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

The underside of a leaf.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/