Cabbage Tree Road

Today was a national holiday – well not quite but my birthday and I try to avoid working birthdays so Liz and I took off for a meander through West-Otago. Over towards Heriot we found Cabbage Tree Road which really lives up to its name.

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How could one drive past Cabbage Tree Road?
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Here we are – right inside, looking up, reaching out

We felt the pull of one tree and had to pull over and peer inside, this is a majestic old tree and by my reckoning is well over a century old.

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Blue Mountains in the background
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The ground a carpet of leaf blades

They are great trees but you want them at least 6 metres away from lawn or paddock as their leaves don’t break down and will foul any mowing equipment including the largest tree mulchers.

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Space within large enough to stand in

There are a number of Cordyline species in New Zealand, but C. australis aka cabbage tree / ti-kouka is the most often seen, often growing wild along country roads. Others include pumilio (many short forms for landscape – some purple forms too which can be see at LAX if you’re travelling), fruticosa (Maori used to coppice these for their very high root sugar content) and kaspar which has very wide leaves. Some forms will withstand -10°C. TERRAIN  is a great place see see more on most of them.

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7 thoughts on “Cabbage Tree Road

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  1. This was the only specie of Cordyline available here for a long time. It was popularized during the Victorian period. (There were many at the Winchester House.) A bronze cultivar became available decades ago, and really became popular in the 1980s. Suddenly, there are too many hybrids and cultlivars to keep track of!

    1. Yes, there are quite a few cultivars and we have about 8 eight species – great plants as long as you keep them about 8metres back from lawns set in a bed of shrubs to absorb the leaves. Which incidentally make the best kindling, so as the plant ages in place so it increases the local fuel load .

      1. I did not think about burning them. A neighbor had three nice specimens that dropped their foliage into my yard. Not only were they a bother to rake, but they did not decompose efficiently enough to be composted. I did not burn debris in that neighborhood, so put them in the trash.

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