Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

The Tī Kōuka (cabbage tree) plantation

Manaaki Whenua has set up a trial to investigate the nature of genetic differences between wild populations of Tī Kōuka (cabbage trees, Cordyline australis).

We want to better understand how tī kōuka can maintain itself over a wide range of habitats in order to assist conservation of this taonga species. We also hope to relate the different growth characteristics to their traditional Maori uses.

Tī kōuka seeds collected from populations in 28 localities throughout New Zealand were sown in 1994 and seedlings planted out in spring 1995 at 3 sites: Lincoln, Invermay and Auckland. Twenty trees of each population, plus a single population each of toi (C. indivisa) and ti ngahere (C. banksii) were planted.

The 600 trees at Lincoln, Invermay and Auckland are now an impressive sight, especially when in flower.


  • Harris W, Beever RE, Parkes S, Smallfield B, Anderson R-A, Scheele S 2006. Genotypic variation of the flowering phenology of Cordyline australis (Laxmanniaceae) grown at three locations in New Zealand. New Zealand journal of botany 44(1): 23-39.
  • Beever R 2006. Why are the cabbage trees dying? Annual report of the Royal Society of New Zealand : incorporating the ...Academy Council yearbook 2005: 108-109.
  • Harris W, Beever RE, Parkes S, Webster P, Scheele S 2003. Genotypic variation of height growth and trunk diameter of Cordyline australis (Lomandraceae) grown at three locations in New Zealand. New Zealand journal of botany 41(4): 637-653.
  • Andersen MT, Beever RE, Sutherland PW, Forster RLS 2001/5. Association of "Candidatus Phytoplasma australiense" with sudden decline of cabbage tree in New Zealand. Plant disease 85(5): 462-469.
  • Harris W 2001. Horticultural and conservation significance of the genetic variation of cabbage trees (Cordyline spp.). In: Oates MR ed. New Zealand plants and their story : proceedings of a conference held in Wellington 1-3 October 1999. Lincoln, Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture. Pp. 87-91.
  • Beever RE, Forster RLS, Rees-George J, Robertson GI, Wood GA, Winks CJ 1996/2. Sudden decline of cabbage tree (Cordyline australis) : search for the cause. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 20(1): 53-68.
All Publications