Economic Botany

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 172–184 | Cite as

Phormium tenax—New Zealand’s native hard fiber

  • Howard J. Critchfield
Semi-Popular Articles


This large iris-like plant yields a hard fiber which has been important in New Zealand’s past export trade. Today the total native annual production of about 5,000 long tons is wholly utilized domestically and provides only 15 percent of New Zealand’s fiber requirements for use in woolpacks, matting, twine and other articles. Imported fibers, such as sisal, jute and hemp, make up the difference.


Economic Botany Hemp Stripper Flower Stalk Floor Matting 
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Literature Cited

  1. 1.
    Atkinson, E. H.Phormium tenax. The New Zealand fibre industry. New Zea- land Dept. Agr., Bull.95. 1922.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cheesman, T. F. Manual of the New Zea- land flora. 1925.Google Scholar
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    Critchfield, H. J. New Zealand phormium fiber. For. Apr., Feb. 1950.Google Scholar
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    Hutchinson, J. The families of flowering plants. II. Monocotyledons. 1934.Google Scholar
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    Laing, R. M., and Blackwell, E. W. Plants of New Zealand. 1927.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Murray, John. An account of thePhor- mium tenax or New Zealand flax (Printed on paper made from its leaves). Sec. Ed. London, 1838.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1951

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard J. Critchfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Canterbury University CollegeChristchurchNew Zealand

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