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Cabbage Tree

Cabbage Tree
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Parata (eosnut) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 647 W: 285 N: 2085] (13374)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-11-20
Categories: Food, Nature
Camera: Canon 5D, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM
Exposure: f/11, 1/750 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-04-06 1:45
Viewed: 5554
Points: 16
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This Cabbage tree is growing at the waters edge of Akaroa Harbour on the Banks Peninsular.

(Cordyline australis).

The cabbage tree is a familiar sight in swamps or dampish places throughout New Zealand vegetation. It is also planted occasionally in gardens and parks and has been introduced into horticulture overseas. It reaches heights of 40 ft at its maximum development with diameters of 1–4 ft. The crown is made up of long, bare branches carrying bushy heads of large, grasslike leaves 2–3 ft long. Early settlers used the young leaves from the centre of these heads as a substitute for cabbage – hence the common name. At flowering time large panicles of small, white, sweet-scented flowers emerge from the centre of the heads. Good flowering seasons occur every few years only. It is said that they foretell dry summers but, from observation, they usually follow dry seasons. Small, whitish berries are formed which are readily eaten by birds. The tree is very tenacious of life, and chips of the wood or sections of the stem will readily shoot. The leaves contain a high percentage of long fibres which are occasionally extracted.

The genus Cordyline is placed by many botanists in the lily family, a group of plants which contains few trees, C. australis being the largest. The genus contains over twenty species most of which occur in the warm temperate and tropical regions of the southern hemisphere. Apart from the cabbage tree, there are four other species in New Zealand and the surrounding islands. The commonest are C. banksii which has a slender, sweeping trunk, and C. indivisa, a most handsome plant, with a trunk up to 25 ft high bearing a massive head of broad leaves 2–6 ft long.

The Maoris obtained a most nutritious food, kauru, from the root of the young cabbage tree. This root is an extension of the trunk below the surface of the ground and is shaped like an enormous carrot some 2–3 ft long. An observer of the early 1840s, Edward Shortland, noted that the Maoris “prefer those grown in deep rich soil; they have learned to dig it at the season when it contains the greatest quantity of saccharine matter; that is, just before the flowering of the plant. They then bake, or rather steam it in their ovens. On cooling, the sugar is partially crystallised, and is found mixed with other matter between the fibres of the root, which are easily separated by tearing them asunder, and are then dipped in water and chewed”.

by Alec Lindsay Poole, M.SC., B.FOR.SC., F.R.S.N.Z., Director-General of Forests, Wellington.

mamcg, kiwi_explorer, germma, Travelcam, WMcK has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

This is a beautiful picture Peter! So Very Kiwi land!! I love those cabbage trees, and you have captured one in a very stunning location.
Well done.

Hello Peter!
Lovely composition!
I like so much this frame!
Beautiful tree!
Perfect detail and good light!
Best regards!

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3204 W: 262 N: 7964] (34497)
  • [2008-04-06 3:52]

We're in Akaroa in 2 weeks time - I'll have to look for this tree Pete - did you leave your initials on it???

It's amazing how we Kiwis grow our vegetables on our Cabbage trees. It stands out quite strongly with the flax bush too.

Hi Peter,
One of my favourite native specie ... they look fantastic too as a silhouette on a sunrise/sunset setting because of their lovely foliage. Wonderfully captured and documented. Well done! tfs

Beautifull image my friend!
Very nice and atractive! Well done!

Hi Peter

Nice example of a cabbage tree and looks great against the sea BG. Good DOF and saturation used. TFS,


  • Great 
  • WMcK Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 663 W: 11 N: 1718] (6837)
  • [2008-04-08 2:43]

What an interesting tree, Peter and what a great composition. I really like the beautiful hills with their wonderful light framing the superb detail of this tree. The notes are excellent. Colours beautiful. A wonderful presentation.
Warm Regards

  • Great 
  • Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2572 W: 237 N: 6132] (24044)
  • [2008-04-09 14:49]

The composition here is very fine. I like the way the lines of the tree match the lines of the distant hills

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