Phormium tenax

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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Phormium tenax, Forst. New Zealand Flax. Fig. 2922, Robust: lvs. attaining 9 ft., 2-5 in. wide, flat above, dark green, margin and keel bright red or brownish: scape 5-10 or even 15 ft. high, terete and glabrous, reddish purple, bearing numerous fls. which are usually dull red but varying almost to pure yellow; perianth 1-2 in. long: caps, stout, erect or inclined, 2-4 in. long. B.M. 3199. Gn. 26, p. 397; 50. p. 369; 70, p. 99; 73, p. 123. G. 33:553; 36:554. F.E. 18:288. G.L 27:219. A.F. 13:748. R.H. 1848:5. V. 13:340. Var. atropurpureum, Hort., has reddish purple foliage. R.H. 1877, p. 389. Var. atropurpureum variegatum, Hort., a "veritable fountain of white, purple and rose-color." Var. atropurpureum nanum, Hort., is a dwarf form. Var. nigro-pictum, Hort. (P. purpureum nigro-limbatum, Hort.). Lvs. deep green, with a narrow margin of blackish purple, which tec-pines broader and more distinct toward the base, making in mature plants a zigzag line which outlines the 2-ranked habit of the lvs. Var. variegatum, Hort., lvs. striped creamy yellow and white. R.H. 1878, p. 86. G.C. III. 29:169. Var. Veitchianum, Hort. (var. Veitchii and P. Veitchianum, Hort.), broad creamy white stripes on a light green ground. A.F. 5:39. The type and varieties all have the red margin. Var. Powerscourtii, Hort., differs from the type in narrower and more rigid lvs.; said to be hardier and freer-blooming. G.W. 1907, p. 3.—P. tenax is a most useful fiber plant in New Zeal., ranking in economic importance in the native flora only below the main timber trees. CH

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