Cordyline australis

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Cordyline australis

Post Number:#1  Postby Spination » Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:04 pm

Endemic to New Zealand, and commonly called Cabbage Tree, this interesting tree is the tallest of 5 Cordyline species native to New Zealand, and can attain a height of 65', a trunk of 5-7' in diameter, with one known tree estimated to be about 400-500 years old.
Considering that, the tree shown in below pictures is a youngster of about 30 years, only about 30' tall, with a trunk diameter of approximately 15" directly above the ground, and about 13" at 3' off the ground, narrowing in diameter the higher up from the ground. The 3' long, sword shaped leaves are long and narrow, and appear as tufts at the end of numerous, long and thin branches.

Various parts of the trees, including stems, roots (fleshy rhizomes), leaves, and shoots have had traditional food and medicinal value to the indigenous peoples, the Maori. Fibers extracted from the leaves made ropes, fishing lines, etc.
2013 02 14  Cordyline australis a x800.jpg
2013 02 14 Cordyline australis a x800.jpg (184.87 KiB) Viewed 385 times

My belief is that this tree attained it's height of approximately 30' because it never suffered breakage from the kind of winds we receive from time to time. It enjoys the shelter of a eucalyptus and a pine in close proximity. These same winds have snapped in two a Yucca out in the open about 10' tall, with a trunk of approximately 6" diameter like a toothpick.
2013 02 14  Cordyline australis and Eucalyptus c X800.jpg
2013 02 14 Cordyline australis and Eucalyptus c X800.jpg (188.93 KiB) Viewed 385 times

The texture of the trunk
2014 12 04 Cordyline australis b X735.jpg
2014 12 04 Cordyline australis b X735.jpg (252.77 KiB) Viewed 385 times

A sucker, now over 6' tall to the leaf tips, with a trunk (the point where the lower-most leaves end) of approx 36", grows out of the ground about 2' from the original plant's trunk. This plant allows a better close up view of the leaves. The rosette keeps growing taller, and the oldest leaves fall off from the stem then becoming the uppermost part of the trunk (or branch). Branching occurs with the first flowering event, and subsequent branches occur when each rosette flowers over the years.
2014 12 04 Cordyline australis d X735.jpg
2014 12 04 Cordyline australis d X735.jpg (140.35 KiB) Viewed 385 times

Tree in bloom. Inflorescences appears as dense, branched panicles, and flowers in Spring...these shots taken April 30, 2013.
2013 04 30 Cordyline australis bloom e X735.jpg
2013 04 30 Cordyline australis bloom e X735.jpg (128.22 KiB) Viewed 385 times

Close up of flower spike.
2013 04 30 Cordyline australis bloom f X735.jpg
2013 04 30 Cordyline australis bloom f X735.jpg (262.72 KiB) Viewed 385 times
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