Ti Kouka - Cabbage tree
Ti Kouka is a familiar sight in swamps or dampish places. It reaches heights of 20 mt and has trunks with diameters of up to a 1.5 m plus. The crown is made up of long, bare branches carrying bushy heads of large, grass-like leaves up to a meter long.
Early settlers used the young leaves from the centre of these heads as a substitute for cabbage – hence the common name.
At the flowering time which is during late November to February large panicles of small, white, sweet-scented flowers emerge from the centre of the heads. Good flowering seasons only occur every few years. 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.
It is recommended to have a minimum of 5–6 species in one planting area. This creates a more resilient ecosystem in the long term.
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