Pseudopanax crassifolius (lancewood, horoeka)
Pseudopanax crassifolius, commonly known as lancewood, must rate with the cabbage tree as one of our quintessential New Zealand plants. Found throughout the country in lowland forest and scrub, it eventually grows into a round-headed tree of about 5m. However, it is the juvenile form that is so distinctive. The long leaves droop downwards from a single stem and can be 60cm or more long but are just 2cm wide. They are leathery with shallow toothed margins and vary in colour from darkest green to bronze overtones with an orangey midrib. The juvenile stage lasts from 10 to 20 years, when branches begin to develop, the stem thickens and the leaves become much shorter and lose their drooping habit. Whether it is planted singly or in groups, the juvenile form makes a very dramatic feature.