30 September 2009

Endemic, invasive — ti kouka, pink ragwort

Ti koukaTi kouka, the New Zealand cabbage tree, has a special place in the culture of Aotearoa, and few New Zealanders would fail to feel a twinge of homesickness on seeing an exiled cabbage tree in a foreign land.

Often survivors where everything else has given way to the dreadful desert of productive pasture, these plants prefer swamps and wetlands. Their most characteristic feature is probably the multiple, leafy heads, but the trunk has its own rough, gnarly charm. This is a young tree on the true right bank of the Waitotara river (the same as in the photo I posted for International Rock Flipping Day); older trees have thicker trunks which are often hollow. The bright flowers in the background are the invasive weed, pink ragwort (Senecio glastifolius).

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor


Anne-Marie said...

I love cabbage trees - from young ones like this one to the ancient, massive things at Flounder Bay. Your photo here has captured the lovely texture of their bark beautifully.

The old pink ragwort is a pest but there flowers are very pretty at this time of year.

pohanginapete said...

Anne-Marie, I think they're great too. As for the pink ragwort, well, I see no reason why a weed can't also be attractive. It wouldn't prevent me from supporting action to exterminate it from Aotearoa.