September Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

Keystone Species of New Zealand

Keystone species of New Zealand (September 9 - 22, 2013)
               Keystone Species of New Zealand                     (September 9 – 22, 2013)

1)   Nothofagus menziesii   (Silver Beech, Tāwhai)

  • Natural range: endemic to New Zealand.  Found throughout South Island.
  • Trunk is silvery-gray and has horizontal lines (lenticels).
  • Dark-green, oval leaves are glossy and have toothed edges.
  • Largest specimen was transplanted in Autumn 2012 with help from a very large crane.

2)   Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides (Mountain Beech, Tawhairauriki)

  • Deep green, oval leaves have a pointed tip and rolled edges.
  • Grows in lowland mountain regions to about 65 feet.  At high altitudes, it forms a “goblin forest” where the trees are no more than 6 feet tall.
  • Two large specimens transplanted with crane in Autumn 2012.

3)   Griselinia littoralis   (New Zealand Broadleaf, Kapuka)

  • Found throughout most of New Zealand from sea level to 3000 feet.
  • Deep green, oval leaves are thick and very shiny, and this fast-growing plant is often used for hedging and shelter planting.
  • Species name ‘littoralis’ means “growing by the sea”, indicating tolerance of salt spray.

4)   Chionochloa rigida   (Narrow-leaved Snow Tussock), C. rubra  (Red Tussock)

  • Genus of Chionochloa, comprises of about 20 species – all but one are native to New Zealand.
  • Despite its name, C. rigida has a flowing habit reaching 3 feet with flowering stems reaching 5 feet.  Leaves dry out giving the plant an overall golden color.
  • C. rubra has reddish colorings with fine weeping leaves reaching 3 to 4 feet and flowering stems that rise just above the foliage.

5)   Phormium colensoi  (syn. P. cookianum) and P. tenax  (New Zealand Flax, Wharariki)

  • Both species native to New Zealand, P. colensoi is endemic;  both are widespread.
  • P. colensoi seed pods tilt downwards and twist in a spiral as they dry.  P. tenax seeds are held upright and do not twist when drying.
  • P. tenax is a larger plant with leaves reaching 9 feet and flowering stalk up to 15 feet compared to P. colensoi whose leaves reach 5 feet and flowering stalk is slightly taller at 6 feet.