Art. LV.—On an abnormal Growth of New Zealand Flax.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 21st January, 1882.]
On the 8th of August last, I found a very remarkable abnormal growth on a flax-bush (Phormium tenax). On one of the flower-stalks, of which there were three, the terminal bud had developed a perfect fan of leaves about two feet long, which at the date mentioned were quite green and fresh, the fan containing nine fully formed leaves, with a young leaf just shooting up in the centre.
The six uppermost lateral flower-buds had made the same abnormal growth, though in a lesser degree; two of them having formed small fans six inches and four inches in length respectively, and the other four having apparently done the same, though the leaves had fallen off, the greatly elongated stalks only being left.
The lower buds had flowered and seeded, some of the seed-pods still remaining.
The whole of the stalk was still green, in spite of the lateness of the season-August being a month in which, it is almost superfluous to state, all ordinary flax-stalks are dead and dry.
The two remaining stalks had made a similar growth to that described. They were, however, dead and withered when I found them.
The bush was one of a considerable patch of ordinary flax growing on the bank of the Papatik, a small stream in northern Taranaki. It was growing in a clayey soil, about 300 or 400 yards from the sea beach.