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


Cordyline fruticosa (Cabbage Palm)

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Lomandroideae
Genus: Cordyline
Species: C. fruticosa
Binomial name: Cordyline fruticosa
Synonyms: Convallaria fruticosa, Asparagus terminalis, Cordyline terminalis,
Dracaena terminalis, Terminalis fruticosa.
Common names: Cabbage Palm, Good Luck Plant, Palm Lily, Ti Plant, Tī Pore (Māori), Sī (Tongan), "Lauti" (Samoan), Kī, Lā‘ī (Hawaiian) and ʻAutī (Tahitian).

Cordyline fruticosa is an evergreen flowering plant in the Asparagus family, Asparagaceae. It it is a woody plant growing up to 4 m tall, with leaves 30–60 cm (rarely 75 cm) long and 5–10-centimetre wide at the top of a woody stem. It produces 40–60 centimetre long panicles of small scented yellowish to red flowers that mature into red berries.
It is native to tropical south-eastern Asia, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, north-eastern Australia, the Indian Ocean, and parts of Polynesia. It is not native to either New Zealand or Hawaii but was introduced to both by Polynesian settlers. Cordyline fruticosa was one of the six plants that Maori introduced to New Zealand. It was known to have survived in cultivation at least until the time Cook visited in 1769. When introduced it could only survive in the warmest parts of the country. Maori recognised the affinity of this plant to the native New Zealand species of Cordyline. They gave the generic name ti to it as they had given to the native species. They used it for fibre, food, medicinal and ceremonial purposes in much the same way as they used C. australis. They ranked the sweetness of the plant above the other Cordyline species.