Astelia trinervia, n.s.
Stout, tufted; leaves 2–5 feet long, plaited, broadly recurved, pale green, the strong nerve on each side of the leaves closely supplemented by three others, forming a strong triple nerve. Flowers: Male.—Scape slender, woolly; branches flexuose and interlaced; bracts membranous, silky, many nerved; pedicels slender, but apparently stout from being clothed with loose wool; perianth rotate; segments lanceolate acuminate; filaments subulate; anthers broad. Female.—Scape as in male; bracts narrower, more leafy than in the male; branches few, short, erect, silky, or woolly; segments of perianth erect, narrow, short; ovary globose. Berry large, globose, deep crimson, three-celled; stigma sessile; seeds sharply angled, suspended from the inner angle of the cell; testa hard; scape prostrate in fruit.
In hilly forests, from the North Cape to the Upper Waikato. The most abundant species. Leaves often so closely interlaced as to impede walking.
Flowers March to April; fruit mature in February.
Distinguished from its nearest ally, A. Banksii, by its green plaited leaves, with triple nerves, prostrate fruit scape, and globose crimson berry.
The “Kauri-grass,” of the settlers, ascends from the sea level to 2,000 feet.
I am indebted to Mr. H. Travers for an immature fruited specimen of an
Astelia, from the Chatham Islands, doubtless identical with the form mentioned by Dr. Hooker at page 744 of the “Handbook,” and referred by him to A. Menziesii, Sm. In Baron Mueller's account of the vegetation of the Chatham Islands, he refers a fruited specimen collected by Mr. Travers to A. Banksii, as he incidentally points out that A. veratroides, Gaud., which is identical with A. Menziesii, Sm., is distinct from A. Banksii; it appears that the specimen submitted to him differs from those given to Dr. Hookerand myself, but in any case the specimen in my possession cannot be identified with any known New Zealand species.