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December 12, 2015

Cabbage Tree Blossom

Cabbage trees, ti kouka, Torquay or Devon palms, and quite likely other names describe these magnificent shrubby trees. For awhile I've meant to blog about their diverse appearance and distribution - whether that's appearing through falling snow flakes in the grounds of the Topkapa Palace in Istanbul or vying for attention with Barbara Hepworth's sculpture in her garden in St Ives. I have to say the most battered specimens I've ever come across are along the sea front at Torquay in England. Compare those wind-dwarfed, scrag ends with the single tree above... and below.

This one is in Ashley on Boundary Rd. Possibly it is an early Maori way marker as it is close to a historic dwelling site, but it could just as easily be a lucky escapee from grazing, and road-side mowing since it is right at the edge of a stream. It is certainly old, with many trunks surrounding a cavity where the original single trunk would have once grown.

Taken on the same day at the Tuahiwi Marae, is this superb single-trunked specimen. Just as Chris thought the may flower around his garden in Sefton was more than last year, I think that the cabbage tree flowers are more prolific than they have been for awhile. The berries on the hawthorn and the cabbage trees will be heavy next autumn - a mast season even. The heavy flowering carries the strong lily perfume well beyond the trees, aggravating hay fever for unfortunate sufferers.

I took this photo in the village about a week ago; it's a garden planting making a stunning display along the roadside.

Cabbage tree, ti kouka, Torquay palm, Devon palm  Cordyline australis


rusty duck said...

You're so right, there is absolutely nothing like this in Devon!

Gill said...

Stunning photos as always. Wishing you all the best for the festive season ahead.

Susan Heather said...

They are flowering well here in the north but I think yours surpass ours.

Merry Christmas.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

rusty duck: They do seem to do quite well in sheltered parts of the south of England - until you get a severe winter.

Gill: Thank you and enjoy your life after School!

Susan Heather: That's interesting to know - that the mast season for one species can be regional.