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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles
'Phormium cookianum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
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This is, in general aspect, similar to the better known P. tenax described below, but its leaves are usually only 2 to 5 ft high, less stiff and often drooping. So far as the cultivated plants are concerned, there is the further difference that the leaves are lighter green, rarely glaucous, and without the orange-coloured or red line on the leaf margins that is commonly seen in P. tenax (but not a distinctive character of that species as a whole). The flowers, too, are paler than in P. tenax, the inner segments being yellow or greenish yellow, the outer ones yellow or yellowish red. The seed-vessel is twisted (not so in P. tenax). Bot. Mag., t. 6973.
Native of New Zealand, from the North to Stewart Island; described by Le Jolis in 1848 from a plant brought direct from New Zealand to a garden at Cherbourg, and named by him after Captain Cook. Although it may share some habitats with P. tenax, it occurs most commonly on sea-cliffs and in mountain ‘fell-fields’.
cv. ‘Tricolor’. – According to L. J. Metcalf, the original plant was found by a Mr Summers in the 1880s, growing on a steep bank of the Wainuiona river (Cult. N.Z. Tr. & Shr. (1972), pp. 209-10 and fig. 52).
† cv. ‘Cream Delight’. – Leaves with a broad central band of cream and a narrow green edge. Of moderate size and compact habit.