Austroderia species (Toetoe)
Species: There are 5 species.
C. Richardii is only found in the South Island,
C. toetoe found lower North Island,
C. fulvida only in the North Island and very north of the South Island,
C. spendens only in the upper North Island,
C. turbaria only on the Chatham Islands.
Common names: Toetoe (sometimes misspelled as toitoi), toetoe-kākaho, toetoe-mokoro, toetoe-rākau. The flower stem is kākaho.
Austroderia is a genus five species of tall grasses native to New Zealand. Toetoe is New Zealand's largest native grass, growing in clumps up to 3m in height. They were recently reclassified in 2011 from the Cortaderia genus.
Two closely related South America species are Cortaderia jubata and C. selloana (Pampas Grass), which have been introduced to New Zealand and are often mistaken for toetoe. These introduced species tend to take over from the native toetoe and are regarded as invasive weeds.
The Māori used the toetoe leaves to make baskets, kites, mats, wall linings and roof thatching.
It was also used to make containers to cook food in hot springs.
The flower stalks were also useful - as frames for kites, and in tukutuku panelling.
The white plumes of the toetoe seed heads were compacted into a covering that would stop bleeding.
Other medicinal uses included treatment of diarrhoea, bladder, kidney complaints and burns.
They ate the stalks as a food.
A paste was made from burning toetoe and then adding the ashes to water for placement on burns.
Other differences between Pampas, the Toetoe leaves do not break when tugged firmly. Toetoes.dead leaves at the base drop off. The invasive spp Cortaderia retains the old dead leaves at its base.