Pineapple tree, grass tree and mountain neinei are some of the common names of our native plant named Dracophyllum traversii. To see it in the wild you need to go for a reasonably serious day walk in order to get into the subalpine area where it lives. We’ve been to such an area in the past and its well worth the effort. When you see a lot of them together its a special experience, they have such unusual form and they drop a lot of litter underneath (a little bit like piles of dead pine needles under pine trees). This litter is coarser and has more interesting texture and shape than pine needles, and nothing else grows underneath them. The canopy allows much more light through than in a pine forest, its a very pleasant place to be.
Nigel took these photos on 17 January 2019 when we were walking in the native area of Dunedin Botanic Garden, Otago, New Zealand. A visit here is the easiest way to see one if you can’t make it out to where the wild trees grow.
The first photo (above) actually shows two kinds of Dracophyllum. The grassy looking tree in the front-left corner is Dracophyllum longifolium
I did a blog-post on this very same tree Sept 01, 2017 titled Curly Character
Text by Liz, photos by Nigel; Exploring Colour (2019)