Bamboo Cutty Grass

Gahnia lacera

(previously known as Lampocarya lacera)

Tarangārara / Bamboo Cutty Grass / Toetoe Kiwi

ABOUT:
Early Maori would used the stems of Tarangarara as darts in games.
Recognised as a “goat-resistant” plant on Great Barrier Island.

IDENTIFY:     
1.5m high x 2m wide. Open, grassy plant, like a small, yellow-green bamboo. Seeds are glossy and black, hanging from weeping flower stems that extend beyond leaf area. Leaves are sharp above, below and on the edges, and have a straw-coloured mid-vein. Grows in a clump, gradually expanding out.

USE:
A good high groundcover for shaded areas, especially where too dry for other greenery. As such, good against buildings and beneath alcoves where rainfall misses.

PLANT:
Prefers a dry site, and is just as successful in full sun or light open shade. Handles winds fine. Dislikes root disturbance, so planting may be easiest by sprinkling seed on the dry stony site rather than transplanting.

SIMILAR TO:     
Wind Grass/Gossamer Grass (Anemanthele lessoniana) – narrower leaves, usually mottled with small orange flecks. Stems are 1-2mm wide (rather than 2-4mm wide as in Tarangarara). Flowers appear as puffy plumes.

ECOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE:
Host to the native Gahnia Scale, which feeds exclusively on Gahnia species. Minimal damage to the host plant is ever noticed.

MORE INFO:
NZ Plant Conservation Network – Gahnia lacera
Gardner, R.O. 1996. Gahnia pauciflora and G. procera and a note on G. lacera. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 51: 7-10. 

 

 

 

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