Astelia grandis, Hook f. Ms. n. s.
Stout, tufted; leaves 2—6 feet long, erect, 2—4 inches wide, many-nerved, with one principal nerve on each side of the leaf, about one-fourth of the entire width of the leaf from each margin. Male.—Scape very stout, six inches to 1½ feet high, thickening upwards to the base of the panicle where it is sometimes 1½ inches in diameter, triquetrous, hairy or downy; panicle 4–12 inches long or more, much branched, flexuose; bracts at the base of each branch lanceolate acuminate, many-nerved, silky or downy below; sometimes 2 feet long or more, and over 2 inches wide; branches stout, furrowed; flowers crowded on short pedicels, with ovate-lanceolate bracteolæ; perianth rotate; segments ovate-lanceolate, or ovate, ultimately recurved; filaments
subulate; anthers oblong. Female.—Scape and bracts as in the male; branches much shorter, erect; flowers crowded; sessile on very short stout pedicels, glabrous or downy; perianth segments small, reflexed; ovary conical, furrowed; style short, divided. Berry three-celled, with a short stout style, partially inclosed by the tube of the perianth, ⅜″ in diameter; seeds black, 1–5 in each cell, sharply angled.
In marshy gullies, etc., North Island, not unfrequent, T.K.; South Island, Otago, J. Buchanan.
Flowers in October; fruit mature in February.
Easily recognized by its large size, dark green scape, and flowers, and lobed, orange-coloured berries, partially enclosed in the green perianth tube.
Shortly before expansion the male flower buds resemble sun-flower seeds in shape, size, and colour. The remarkable development of the bractlets is characteristic of this species; in the male panicle they are often shaggy and flexuose, or contorted; each branch is usually terminated by a pair of bracteolæ, sometimes 1″ long; pedicels developed on the ridges of the branches. Fruit deep orange, stains paper; the perianth becomes reflexed when the berry falls, and is coloured internally.
A solitary male panicle exhibited a curious aberration. One-third of the flowers on the upper branches had the short segments of the female perianth, with very short filaments and imperfectly developed anthers.