Frayed ends of flax leaves were fashioned into torches and lights for use at night. Driven by the desperate need for muskets and ammunition, many Māori moved to unhealthy swamplands where flax could be grown, and there devoted insufficient labour to the production of food, until any survivors were fully equipped, first with musket and ammunition, and then with iron tools. Since each of the cultivars can only be propagated by breaking off fans of young leaves from a parental plant, 15 years may elapse between the time a new variety is produced and sufficient … Rugged New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax, and its selections are sturdy and fast growing. New Zealand flax describes the common New Zealand perennial plants Phormium tenax and Phormium colensoi, known by the Māori names harakeke and wharariki respectively. The Maori name for this plant is harakeke. Manaaki Whenua is kaitiaki of a collection of traditional weaving varieties of harakeke (NZ flax, Phormium spp.) With the help of wakas, pre-European Māori deployed seine nets which could be over one thousand metres long. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence. New Zealand flax plant care is minimal once plants are mature, but the flax may suffer damaged and shredded leaf tips in windy and exposed sites. Their striking, upright form lends phormium to modern designs, yet the genus integrates well in a variety of styles. Wharariki has softer leaves and is found on mountain slopes and coastal cliffs. The flax fibre, called muka, is laboriously washed, pounded and hand wrung to make soft for the skin. It is very common to grow these plants in large containers, moving them indoors for the winter in colder climates. There are two ways to prepare the fibre ends on the strips. Tough, easy to grow and … An 1870 news item said an acre, with 2 crops a year, could produce 2 tons of fibre, equating to £40 a year, or a net profit of £27 0s 3d, the cost being estimated at £12 19s 9d. Landcare Research – Manaaki Whenua Photographs by Robert Lamberts and Sue Scheele. Phormium Jester Flax- has long arching red/pink and bright green leaves, medium to large variety 1.2 metres In the demonstration garden on the nursery grounds, each variety that we sell has been planted into a garden setting. The flax tolerates partial sun but will perform better in full sun situations. Origin: Phormium tenax occurs naturally in New Zealand and Norfolk Island, while Phormium cookianum is endemic to New Zealand. , By 1890 3,198 people were employed, but average pay was only £73 a year, among the lowest of average wage rates at the time. The first method is the traditional way and if the flax variety is suited to it, it is less time-consuming. It grows mainly on lowland swamps throughout New Zealand. Plaiting and weaving (raranga) the flax fibres into baskets were but only two of the great variety of uses made of flax by Māori who recognised nearly 60 varieties, and who carefully propagated their own flax nurseries and plantations throughout the land. The mature size of your New Zealand flax plant will depend on the variety and your growing conditions. It listed up to 24 varieties, with many regional variations in names.. Now, there are countless variegated forms in differing heights and mixes of color from pinks, whites, reds, … For instance the minimum wage paid this season at Mr Rutherford's Te Aoterei mill has been 11s 3d for a ten-hour day. Astelia 'Westland' A red or bronze form of this popular native. There are many varieties of each of these two species. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. There are large varieties that can reach 10 feet in height with either green or bronze coloring depending on the variety. Phormium tenax (left), also known as harakeke or swamp flax, has stiff leaves, red flowers, and upright seed pods. Dwarf varieties can anchor a container, while some cultivars hit 15 feet in the garden. All of these plants came in foliage shades of green and a few bronze-red. P. tenax occurs naturally in New Zealand and Norfolk Island, while P. colensoi is endemic to New Zealand. donated by Rene Orchiston of Gisborne. Harakeke is used as bandages and can secure broken bones much as plaster is used today. Best colour is achieved when planted in full sun. Production peaked between 1901 and 1918, but rust, depression and pasture replacing flax swamps, resulted in almost all mills closing by the 1930s. Grasses & flax for sale in New Zealand. Already in the past the quantity of green flax destroyed by this agency is very great. There are three types of fiber flax flower varieties: white, purple and blue. They also made baskets, mats and fishing nets from undressed flax. Permission from Manaaki Whenua: Landcare Research New Zealand Limited must be obtained before the re-use of this image. The seed pods droop and twist, becoming thin and papery with age. Perhaps nowhere can the beauty and variety of flax as an ornamental plant be as readily appreciated as at New Zealand Flax Hybridisers in Tauranga, an enterprise Margaret Jones (at right) has built up over 30 years. Find flax plant stock images in HD and millions of other royalty-free stock photos, illustrations and vectors in the Shutterstock collection. of coal, £2 8s and freight etc., £5. The pulp of pounded leaves was applied as dressings to bullet, bayonet or other wounds. Old New Zealand: being Incidents of Native Customs and Character in the Old Times by 'A Pakeha Maori' (Frederick Edward Maning), originally published 1863. http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/dbtw-wpd/HeritageImages/index.htm, The Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1894, "The Flax Industry | Saint Helena Island Info: All about St Helena, in the South Atlantic Ocean", "Wharariki, Phormium – The University of Auckland", "History of the Phormium Fibre Export Trade", "Designing the Future – Celebrating the Past", "Private Acts. Harakeke has stiff leaves and grows mainly in lowland swamps. The yield of flax cultures varies depending on the purpose and variety of the flax seeds used, given that this plant is cultivated for both seed and fiber. Splints were fashioned from korari (flower stalks) and leaves, and fine cords of muka fibre utilise the styptic properties of the gel before being used to stitch wounds. The flax, from 11 different varieties, are significant to Māori weavers and have been translocated from a private property on the outskirts the Hamilton. donated by Rene Orchiston of Gisborne. , With extensive burning of bush, few fire brigades, and little piped water, fire was a hazard for most buildings and flax was no exception. The dried flower stalks, which are extremely light, were bound together with flax twine to make river rafts called mokihi. , During the early Musket Wars and later New Zealand Wars, Māori used large, thickly woven flax mats to cover entrances and lookout holes in their "gunfighter's pā" fortifications. Tree duff, if not removed, will rot the crown. Although the Māori made textiles from a number of other plants, including tī kōuka, tōī, pingao, kiekie, toetoe and the paper mulberry, the use of harakeke and wharariki was predominant. , Thus, by the early 19th century, the quality of rope materials made from New Zealand flax was known internationally, as was the quality of New Zealand trees which were used for spars and masts.  By 1913 a commentator wrote, "A few years ago flax milling was largely done by boys who received a few shillings per day, now in these more enlightened (?) All 'fancy flax' or ornamental flax cultivars are derived from these parents. Kahutoi Te Kanawa, 'Te raranga me te whatu - The art of te whare pora', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/43472/types-of-flax (accessed 18 January 2021), Story by Kahutoi Te Kanawa, published 22 Oct 2014. It is easy to maintain, drought tolerant when established and makes a good erosion control. Avoid planting phormium under trees that shed, like redwoods.  Dougall was an exception in declining to patent his stripper. New Zealand flax attracts birds and is not attractive to deer. The cords (muka whenu) form the base cloth for intricate cloaks or garments (kākahu) such as the highly prized traditional feather cloak (kahu huruhuru). For 4 tons the cost was calculated as depreciation 12s, 8 men's wages @ 25s a week, £10; an engineman £1 15; 12 lads @ 12s, £7 4s; 24 tons of green flax @ 15s £18; packing, baling, etc. Looks good in a pot, massed planted or used as contrast. Phormium is a genus of two plant species in the Asphodelaceae family. There are two species of New Zealand flax.  It was also used to make rigging, sails and lengthy anchor warps, and roofs for housing. It has sword-like leaves that shoot up from the base of the plant and new hybrids are now available in … We wish to share our observations and experiences with you. Many plants in containers grow 1 to 4 ft. tall, but Phormium tenax can reach 10 feet under ideal conditions. 1.2m. " The Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1894 and growth of unions improved the low pay and conditions. Phormium ‘Sundowner’ Is one of the larger and older flax varieties out thEre – it grows up to about 1.8m tall – and is still one of the best pinks.  It took a ton of leaves a day and produced about 0.2 long tons (200 kg) of fibre. , Chemical analysis shows the antifungal, anti-inflammatory drug, musizin, and laxative anthraquinones are in common and mountain flaxes. Carex buchananii. Māori practised advanced weft twining in phormium fibre cloaks.. One species is endemic to New Zealand and the other is native to New Zealand and Norfolk Island. Both species and their cultivars have now been widely distributed to temperate regions of the world as ornamental garden plants – and to lesser extent for fibre production.. All text licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence unless otherwise stated. The flax looper caterpillar (Orthoclydon praefactata), native to New Zealand, feeds at night on the underside of P. tenax leaves, leaving a ‘window’ of the leaf cuticle. Buy and sell Grasses & flax on Trade Me. The nets were woven from green flax, with stone weights and light wood or gourd floats, and could require hundreds of men to haul.  Many others patented variations, but the basic design was that leaves were fed between rollers, then hit by iron beaters, revolving faster than the feeder, thus stripping the epidermis from the fibre. This plant's large selection originates, surprisingly, from only two species. Most varieties are variegated, and each variety can have a wide range of colours in its leaves. 1.3m x 1.3m. The Royal Navy was one of the largest customers. In 1890 a report on a fire in a large quantity of growing flax said, "These fires in most cases arise from gross carelessness, which might easily be avoided. Although given the common name 'flax' they are quite distinct from the Northern Hemisphere plant known as flax (Linum usitatissimum). Harakeke has stiff leaves and grows mainly in lowland swamps. Improvements by 1910 increased that to 1.27 tonnes a day. , A Parliamentary Commission in 1870 reported on all aspects of the flax industry.  The fibre was coarser than hand-stripped flax, but by 1868 machines could produce about 250 kg (550 lb) per day, compared to about 1 kg (2.2 lb) by hand stripping. , So the inventions were quickly taken up, flax mills increasing from 15 in 1867, to 110 in 1874, though another source says there were 161 mills by 1870, employing 1,766. With so many varieties and cultivars such as the dark foliage Phormium ‘Platt’s Black’, the copper colored dwarf variety Phormium ‘Bronze Baby’ the magnificent two toned lime green and yellow Phormium ‘Yellow Wave Flax’ and the red tones of Phormium ‘Jester’ the New Zealand Flax is a versatile landscaping plant. A large mill at Halswell had six of their patent strippers by 1868. The specimens – - ruahine, whareongaonga, wharariki, tūtaewheke, taiore, atarau, wharanui and tukura - were from the collection of local weaver Penney Cameron, who had obtained them over several years. , Mills were driven by water wheels, small stationary steam engines, or portable engines. Juice from pounded roots was used as a disinfectant, and taken internally to relieve constipation or expel worms. New Zealand flax describes the common New Zealand perennial plants Phormium tenax and Phormium colensoi, known by the Māori names harakeke and wharariki respectively. Different type of cloaks, such as kahu kiwi and kahu kākā, were produced by adorning them with colourful feathers from different native birds, such as kiwi, kaka (parrot), tui, huia and kereru (woodpigeon). What’s more, each new variety has more color variations and is more ornamental than the last. Captain Cook wrote: “Of the leaves of these plants, with very little preparation, they (the Māori) make all their common apparel; and of these they make also their strings, lines and cordage …”.  A burgeoning flax industry developed with the fibres being used for rope, twine, matting, carpet under felt, and wool packs. The green fleshy substance of the leaf was stripped off, again using a mussel shell, right through to the fibre which went through several processes of washing, bleaching, fixing, softening, dyeing and drying. Commercial re-use may be allowed on request. In the time that we have been growing and selling this group of plants we have learned much about them. Fibers obtained from white flower flax are harder, so they have a low value, as opposed to purple flower flax. © Crown Copyright. – Flax and flax working – Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand", "Miranui – The Story of New Zealand's Largest Flax Mill", "THE NEW ZEALAND OFFICIAL YEAR – BOOK 1893", "Full text of "Flax mills : their machinery, accidents occurring therein, with suggestions for their prevention, "Arbitration Act becomes law | NZHistory, New Zealand history online", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Flax_in_New_Zealand&oldid=993989053, Articles with dead external links from December 2017, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2007, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 13 December 2020, at 15:56. Coloured flaxes are not usually used for weaving, although they can be used for smaller items such as woven flowers, or can be added as a feature to other weaving. There are two varieties of New Zealand flax - Phormium tenax or Harakeke and Phormium cookianum or Wharariki. " Mills were burnt too. New Zealand flax is grown primarily for its colorful, architectural foliage. National New Zealand Flax Collection. Maori woman wearing the traditional costume made of flax fibre, c. 1880, Photo of Rewi Manga Maniapoto in a flax cloak, 1879, For centuries, Māori have used nectar from the flowers for medicinal purposes and as a general sweetener. days a boy gets a man’s wage. While most phormiums dislike humid summers and cold winters, New Zealand flax accepts the Southern climate. The two main varieties of New Zealand flax are (left) Phormium tenax – harakeke or swamp flax – and Phormium cookianum – wharariki or mountain flax. , In winter 1823 Captain John Rodolphus Kent went to Foveaux Strait, filled 14 large casks with flax, bought 1,100 lb (500 kg) of dressed flax, and took 25 flax plants. Most varieties are fairly frost-hardy but don't be tempted to rip off the burned leaves - they'll protect the younger growth inside. Nov 8, 2018 - If you are unfamiliar with the range of colors and styles that Phormium come in then you are about to see just how big of an impact Phormium can have on your landscaping endeavors. The slimy fibre was bunched, washed and the muka hung to dry.  A & G Price built almost 100 flax machines in 1868 and, by August 1869, had sold 166. © Copyright image. Initially wild stands of flax were harvested but plantations were established with three in existence by 1851. New Zealand Flax Varieties There are many colourful and variegated varieties of New Zealand Flax on the market today these include-Phormium Anna Red Flax- clear bright colour of dark red/maroon/purple leaves that grows to 1.2m high, 1m wide. All rights reserved. Both are quite large growing, with distinctive sword shaped leaves. Harakeke is quite a unique looking plant that actually comes in quite a few varieties. The focus is on adaptation to Eastern Canada, high yield, lodging resistance and enhanced quality. Fibres of various strengths were used to fashion eel traps (hinaki), surprisingly large fishing nets (kupenga) and lines, bird snares, cordage for ropes, baskets (kete), bags, mats, clothing, sandals (paraerae), buckets, food baskets (rourou), and cooking utensils etc. Phormium cookianum (right), also known as wharariki or mountain flax, has softer leaves and yellow flowers. The striking lance-shaped leaves can come in several bold colors. , In 1860 Purchas and Ninnis got the country's first patent for a flax machine. Description Tougher than other purperea Phormiums, yet more vivid Size 80-90cm high x 80-90cm wide No varieties have been released yet, however, the program has reached maturity and several cultivars should be released soon. Some warriors wore coats of heavily plaited Phormium tenax, which gave defense characteristics similar to a medieval gambeson, slowing musket balls to be wounding rather than deadly. However, as with identifying many plants or animals it’s not that simple. Common Name: New Zealand Flax. There are many coloured flax varieties ranging in colour from deep reds to yellow and soft green. , Flax leaves were cut, bundled, taken to the mill and fed through a stripping machine. Manaaki Whenua is kaitiaki of a collection of traditional weaving varieties of harakeke (NZ flax, Phormium spp.) Welcome to part 1 of my tutorial on how to prepare Harakeke (NZ Flax - Phormium Tenax) for weaving - see also my website www.flaxworx.co.nz They have played an important part in the cultural and economic history of New Zealand for both the Māori people and the later European settlers. Otherwise, very easy care. The Phormium hybrids around today all found their start in New Zealand. A striking native flax like plant with long silver leaves. That trip was by way of an experiment to confirm the value of flax, but he continued trading until 1836 and several other traders followed his example. For the genus of plants the fiber are made from, see. flax bush New Zealand hemp see more; Family Hemerocallidaceae Genus Phormium are evergreen perennials, making a large clump of leathery, strap-shaped leaves, with tall panicles of small, tubular flowers in summer Details P. tenax is a robust evergreen perennial making a medium-sized clump of dark grey-green, strap-shaped leaves. ", This article is about the fiber. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 1870. In 1963 there were still 14 flax mills producing a total of almost 5,000 tons of fibre per year, but the last of them closed in 1985. Flax snails, a rare land snail living only in the Far North, often shelter under flax bushes. Characteristics of … Boiled and crushed harakeke roots were applied externally as a poultice for boils, tumours and abscesses, as well as to varicose ulcers. Suggested Varieties of New Zealand Flax. There are several different varieties of Phormium tenax; in fact, it seems like a new variety is introduced on a yearly basis. In 1986 we printed a handout titled "Cut Me Some Flax: Phormium Hybrids". Leaves were cut near the base of the plant using a sharp mussel shell or specially shaped rocks, more often than not greenstone (jade, or pounamu). The flax notcher moth (Tmeolphota steropastis), also native to New Zealand and a nocturnal feeder, leaves notches at the edges of young leaves (Scheele, 2016). Although given the common name 'flax' they are quite distinct from the Northern Hemisphere plant known as flax (Linum usitatissimum) It is a mild anaesthetic, and Māori traditionally applied the sap to boils and various wounds, to aching teeth, to rheumatic and associated pains, ringworm and various skin irritations, and scalds and burns. The gum-like sap produced by harakeke contains enzymes that give it blood clotting and antiseptic qualities to help healing processes. In fact, the flax from which linen comes could hardly be more different than our hefty, clump-forming phormiums. The Purchas And Ninnis Flax", "Rangitahi Peninsula Archaeological and Cultural Survey and Assessment – Report for Raglan Land Company", "Report Of The Committee Of The Industrial Exhibition", "Papers Past — Timaru Herald — 2 February 1870 — The Timaru Herald. Several times the possibility of commercial papermaking from the fibre from Phormium tenax has been investigated, but currently it is used only by artists and craftsmen producing handmade papers. The flax, from 11 different varieties, are significant to Māori weavers and have been translocated from a private property on the outskirts the Hamilton. Not all flax varieties have fibre that is long enough to make fibre ends, so test the length of fibre in a single strip from the flax plant you’re thinking of cutting. The two main varieties of New Zealand flax are (left) Phormium tenax – harakeke or swamp flax – and Phormium cookianum – wharariki or mountain flax. £4; 2 tons 8cwt. Perfect for contrast this very popular plant has many landscape uses. There are two species – common flax and mountain flax. Wharariki has softer leaves and … Characteristics: Gardeners know it as a large and often colorful spiky plant that makes an arresting focal point in the garden or in containers.  "The taking of slaves increased – slaves who could be put to work dressing flax...".  There were also frequent cases of workers caught in machines. The flax trade burgeoned, especially after male Māori recognised the advantages of trade and adapted to helping in the harvesting and dressing of flax which had previously been done exclusively by females. All non-text content is subject to specific conditions.  Initially unions were resisted, as in the report of an 1891 strike, which said, "Mr Hall intends to proceed to Auckland for the purpose of procuring fresh men to work the mill. About ten days later the muka was scutched and baled for export, though some mills had ropewalks for local production. The 50 harakeke were selected long ago from natural stands and cultivated by … From about the 1860s there was an active industry harvesting and processing flax for export, peaking at 32,000 tons in 1916, but the general depression of the 1930s brought the virtual collapse of this trade. Harakeke is more upright and larger, and Wharariki is slightly more 'floppy' and smaller. , In boom times flax was profitable. The 50 harakeke were selected long ago from natural stands and cultivated by Māori weavers for their special leaf and fibre properties. LATEST TELEGRAMS", "Progress Of New Zealand In Manufactures", "4. The handmade flax cording and ropes had such great tensile strength that they were used to successfully bind together sections of hollowed out logs to create huge ocean-going canoes (waka). Types of flax. Machinery was estimated at £500 – 8 hp engine with Cornish boiler £200; 4 strippers @ £22, £88; scutching hooks, £15; a screw press £12; building £185. Both brown and yellow flax varieties are being developed.  Patents included Ritchie in 1862, Gibbons and Nelson in 1870, and Williams in 1893. Phormium Tenax is the New Zealand Flax. 7 Flax Facts .  Johnstone Dougall (1822–1892), a carpenter, also invented a flax-stripper about 1868, which he put in his first mill at Waiuku. Thousands of new, high-quality pictures added every day. It takes almost any soil and tolerates drought and coastal conditions; good drainage, how- … 1894 [ 42 ] and growth of unions improved the low pay and conditions as flax Linum! Rip off the burned leaves - they 'll protect the younger growth inside advanced weft twining in fibre... Green or bronze coloring depending on the nursery grounds, each variety can have a wide range of colours its. Have been released yet, however, as opposed to purple flower flax harder. The burned leaves - they 'll protect the younger growth inside rot the crown many regional in! Robert Lamberts and Sue Scheele ten-hour day antiseptic qualities to help healing processes is to. For instance the minimum wage paid this season at Mr Rutherford 's Aoterei! Wharariki or mountain flax of this field is kept private and will not shown! 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