Freycinetia banksii (Kiekie)
Species: F. banksii
Scientific Name: Freycinetia banksii
Common Name: Kiekie
Kiekie (Freycinetia banksii) is a densely branched, brittle, woody climbing shrub native to New Zealand. It is a member of the screw palm family Pandanaceae. Kiekie has numerous cane-like stems up to 40 mm in diameter, which freely produce aerial roots. It climbs tree trunks, or forms dense tangles on the forest floor. Its stems and leaves are a dominant feature in many areas of New Zealand forest, the stems eventually reaching up to 30 m long. The leaves are long and slender, 60-90 cm long and 2-2.5 cm broad.
Possums,rats and birds complete for the sweet fruit which ripens.
The sweet-tasting fruits were eaten during winter and the succulent flower bracts (tawhara) were a delicacy of the Maori. These were often gathered by using a forked stick. The leaves was widely use for plaiting and weaving, although the broader leaves of New Zealand flax were preferred because they provided more material. Items that were woven included mats and temporary baskets for holding food. The aerial roots were gathered to use as a binding material for implements and for making fish traps and sandals. The inner leaves of the kiekie were used to produce the finest whariki. (A place mat)
Young Kiekie growing on a bank