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Phormium tenax

(New Zealand Flax)


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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Danish:

New Zealandhamp, New Zealandhoer

Common Names in Dutch:

Nieuw-Zeelands Vlas, Nieuw-Zeelandse Hennep, Nieuwzeelands Vlas

Common Names in English:

New Zealand Flax, Flax, Flax Lily, Harakeke, Harakeke (Maori), Harakeke Lily, Harareke, Harareke (Maori), Korari, Korari (Maori), Lowland flax, New Zealand Hemp, New Zealand-Flax, New Zealand-Hemp, Phormium, St Helena Hemp, Swamp Flax

Common Names in French:

Chanvre De La Nouvelle Zélande, Lin De La Nouvelle Zélande, Phormium

Common Names in Georgian:

ახალზელანდიური სელი

Common Names in German:

Neuseelaendischer Flachs, Neuseelaendischer Hanf, Neuseeländer Flachs

Common Names in Italian:

Canapa Della Nuova Zelanda, Clamidia, Lino Della Nuova Zelanda

Common Names in Japanese:

Maoran, Niusai Ran, Nyuujiiran Doasa, Nyuusairan Forumiumu, マオラン

Common Names in Maori:

Haraeke, Harakeke, Huruhuruhika, Kauhangaroa, Korari, Maomao, Oue, Paritaniwha, Pikoko, Potango, Rongotainui, Tamure, Taneawai, Tihore, Tika, Titoonewai, Whararahi

Common Names in Norwegian Nynorsk:


Common Names in Polish:

Tęgosz, Tęgosz mocny

Common Names in Portuguese:

Atadeira, Cânhamo Da Nova Zelândia, Fôrmio (Brazil), Linho Da Nova Zelândia, Marradeira, Phormium

Common Names in Russian:

Novozelandskii Len, Новозеландский лён

Common Names in Spanish:

Cáñamo De Nueva Zelanda, Lino De Nueva Zelanda, Lirio De Espada

Common Names in Spanish, Castilian:



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Family Hemerocallidaceae

A family of flowering plants that includes daylilies and New Zealand flax. The genus Hemerocallis was assigned its own family name in 1982 by Dahlgren and Clifford. (See pp. 36-39, "Biosystematics ," by Barr Daylily Journal, vol. 42, no. 2, fall 1987. Not all authorities agree, and some place the genus in the family Asparagales. In the family, pedicels are articulated, septal nectaries infralocular, and the ovary superior. Other details: Habit various; flavonols, napthoquinones, saponins +; roots often swollen; mucilage cells 0; raphides 0; cuticular wax rodlets parallel; leaves (spirally) 2-ranked, conduplicate to flat-conduplicate, keeled , the keel unifacial , sheath closed ; inflorescence various, (bracteoles lateral ); pedicel usu. articulated; (flowers monosymmetric , median tepal of outer whorl adaxial - Hemerocallis), T tube short (1/2 way - Hemerocallis; 0), filaments often ornamented, (anthers centrifixed), pollen usu. trichotomosulcate, infra-locular septal nectaries +, 1-many tenuinucellate ovules/carpel, nucellar cap +, chalazal nucellus well developed; endosperm usu. helobial, stigma dry (wet); fruit also a berry (nut, schizocarp); seeds ovoid , (with strophiole/aril); endosperm hemicellulosic, embryo also short; n = 4 [Agrostocrinum], 8, 9, 11, 12, chromosomes 0.8-10 µm long; (cotyledon not photosynthetic - Dianella), epicotyl long or not (hypocotyl 0; collar +), primary root well developed, branched or not.

Physical Description

Habit: Subshrub , Forb/herb

Flowers: Bloom Period: April, May. • Flower Color: red


Size: 6-8' tall.


Typically found in the intertidal zone at the water's edge at a mean distance from sea level of 47.40 meters (155.51 feet).[1]

Biome: Coastal.


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Duration: Perennial


Culture: Space 4-6' apart.

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun .

Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11. (map)


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Publishing author : J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. Publication : Char. Gen. Pl. 24 1775 [29 Nov 1775]

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Phormium

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 55 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

P. colensoi (Long-Leaved New Zealand Flax) · P. cookianum (Mountain Flax) · P. cookianum 'Cream Delight' (Cream Delight New Zealand Flax) · P. cookianum 'Flamingo' (Flamingo New Zealand Flax) · P. cookianum 'P. Flamingo' (Mountain Flax) · P. cookianum 'Tricolor' (Mountain Flax) · P. Dark Avocado = 'Westado' (Flax Lily [dark Avocado]) · P. tenax (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax var. Purpurea (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Amazing Red' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Atropurpureum' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Atropurpureum Compactum' (Bronze New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Bronze Baby' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Chocolate' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Flamingo' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Gold Spike' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Hilo Princess' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Jack Spratt' (Jack Spratt New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Joker' (New Zealand Flax 'joker') · P. tenax 'Maori Maiden' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Maori Sunrise' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Morticia' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Platt's Black' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Sundowner' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Tom Thumb' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Variegata' (Variegated Flax) · P. tenax 'Veitchianum' (New Zealand Flax) · P. tenax 'Yellow Wave' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Apricot Queen' (Apricot Queen New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Black Rage' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Chocomint' (Flax Lily 'chocomint') · P. 'Dark Delight' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Dazzler' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Duet' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Dusky Chief' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Dwarf Burgundy' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Evening Glow' (Evening Glow New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Gold Sword' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Guardsman' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Jester' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Maori Chief' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Maori Queen' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Moonraker' (Flax Lily 'moonraker') · P. 'Pink Stripe' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Platt's Black' (Platt's Black New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Rainbow Chief' (Rainbow Chief New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Rainbow Maiden' (Rainbow Maiden New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Rainbow Warrior' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Red Fingers' (Flax Lily 'red Fingers') · P. 'Red Heart' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Sea Jade' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Sundowner' (Sundowner New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Surfer' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Wings of Gold' (New Zealand Flax) · P. 'Yellow Wave' (Yellow Wave Flax Lily)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal February 28, 2008:



  1. Standard Deviation = 378.130 based on 217 observations. Terrestrial altitude and ocean depth information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-12-03