Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Phormium tenax
J.R.Forster & G.Forster, Xanthorrhoeaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 8 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

English: bush flax, New Zealand flax, New Zealand hemp

Spanish: lino de Nueva Zelanda, lirio de espada

Habit:  herb

Description:  "This species is a perennial rhizomatous herb (to ca 2 m tall) native to New Zealand. The stems are short and stout. The leaves are strap-like, deep green, clump forming and fibrous. The flowers are red and orange, occurring in terminal sprays" (Csurhes and Edwards, 1998; p. 122).

"Plants to 5-6 m tall. Leaves bright orange toward base, stiff, erect, at least in lower part, 100-300 cm long, 5-12 cm wide, margins entire, apex usually splitting. Inflorescences 4-5 m long, peduncles dark brown, 2-3 cm in diameter, glabrous; tepals dull red, 2.5-5 cm long. Capsules dark brown with age, erect, 3-angled, 5-10 cm long, usually falcate, abruptly constricted at apex, not twisted. Seeds elliptic, 9-10 mm long, somewhat twisted" (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 1350-1351).

Habitat/ecology:  In Hawai‘i, the species forms dense thickets, principally in gullies in mesic areas below 300 m. (Smith, Alien Plants of Hawai‘i web site).  "In Chile this species grows in the following environmental conditions:  Low altitude, interior valleys; coastal mountains, 500-2000 m; coastal areas, 0-500 m.  Dry, arid areas, with long drought periods of 6-10 months, precipitations of 100 mm-300 mm. are concentrated in winter.  Fully exposed to the sun, level areas or slopes facing north"  (Chileflora).

Propagation:  Discarded plants; seed, distributed by water, wind and possibly birds; rhizomes.

Native range:  New Zealand, Norfolk Island.

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Norfolk Islands
Norfolk Island native
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1994) (p. 11)
"On grassy slopes and cliffs by the sea". Vouchers cited: R.D. Hoogland 11236 (CANB), R.M. Laing (CHR)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (pp. 493, 539, 556)
Voucher cited: Danton I(5/349)1694. "En RC, forma matas imponentes por aqui y allá en el pueblo de San Juan Bautista.  Sus flores son visitadas por los picaflores (esencialmente Sephanoides galeritus)".
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
Wester, Lyndon (1992) (p. 116)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 1350-1351)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 1350-1351)
New Zealand (offshore islands)
Kermadec Islands
Raoul Island introduced
invasive
Sykes, W. R. (1977) (pp. 153-154)
Slightly adventive.
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 122)
Naturalized in Victora.
Chile (continental)
Chile
Chile (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Belov, Michail (2013)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) native
Moore, L. B./ Edgar, E. (1970) (p. 52)
"Abundant, especially in lowland swamps and intermittently flooded land".
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 69)
Cultivated only

Comments:  A very serious pest on St. Helena (Atlantic Ocean). Also reported to be present on Tristan de Cunha.


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 9 JAN 2011.