Cabbage Tree

Cabbage Tree

The cabbage tree is one of the most distinct trees in New Zealandís landscape, especially at farms. It is a leguminous tree is very tall and branching towards the top. They generally grow all over the country, but usually prefer open and wet areas like muddy swamps. Cabbage trees bear extremely scented flowers during early summers which turn down into bluish-white berries. The grow to a height of about 15 to 20 metres, they have long narrow leaves that may be round about  1 or 1.5 metre long. As these plants get older, the stem generally dies out but new shoots grow arbitally from any part of the trunk. The bark of this plant is thick and tough like cork, and a huge fleshy root holds the tree firmly into the ground and prevents soil erosion.

Botanical Name: Andira inermis.

Family Name: Vouacapoua inermis.

Common Name: Cordyline australis.

Part Used: Leaves, root, stem, fibre.

Habitat: New Zealand, swamps of Manawatu. Common throughout farmland, open places, wetlands and scrubland of the North and South Islands, but are rare on Stewart Island.

Properties of Cabbage Tree


  • Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory.
  • Antilithic (to prevent or eliminate kidney stones).
  • Diuretic, febrifuge (reduces fever), menstrual stimulant.


Uses of Cabbage Tree


         Their strong root system helps stop soil erosion.

         The fibre is separated by long cooking and these fibres are used to make ropes, baskets and sandals.

         Cabbage trees are also planted to mark trails.

         The seeds are fermented in rum and used for snakebites.

         The durable wood is used for production of construction materials.

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