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

Freycinetia banksii (Kiekie)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots 
Order: Pandanales 
Family: Pandanaceae 
Genus: Freycinetia 
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 and it can form 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 were widely used 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 placemat)

A Kiekie plant with fruit

Waxeye feeding on Keikei fruit

Young Kiekie growing up a tree fern

Young Kiekie growing on a bank

Photographed on Westcoast roadside.

Freycinetia banksii growing on a coastal cliff in South Westland.

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