Astelia nervosa is a clump-forming upright perennial endemic to New Zealand and possibly to South and Stewart Islands. North Island specimens tend to be greener than those found further south. Southern specimens are variable with silver to silver/plum, flax like foliage. The foliage darkens in the cold but may return to silver in the warm sun. Flowers are reddish-brown and are followed by orange berries. Like other Astelia species, these berries are good bird and lizard attractors.
This Kakaha has less upright leaves than other Astelias. Its leaves tend to gracefully arch downward. It is the most widely distributed of the seven alpine Astelias. It grows up to about 1500m above sea level and is common in the mountains from the Raukumara Ranges south to Rakiura/Stewart Island.
Due to its variability, this Astelia is often cultivated (selective breeding) to create showier foliage. The desired attribute is kept in subsequent plants by propagating from division or cell cloning. At Wai-ora we grow our plants from eco-sourced seeds. As a result, plants can vary greatly in appearance in a single crop of plants. We recommend planting A. fragrans if you are wanting a mass planting with a singular appearance. However, Astelia nervosa makes a beautiful specimen plant for pots or as a centrepiece in the garden.
Sun or shade. Dioecious.