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Cordyline indivisa. Tōī. Mountain cabbage tree.

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Click to collapse Māori names Info

TŌĪTĪ TŌĪtī kapu ("a variety of the Ti-tree having a very large and broad leaf" Taylor 1870),  tī kupengatī matuku-tai ("ocean-fearing Cordyline" Best 1907

Click to collapse Description Info

cooked, edible stem or rhizome:  kāuru

old, dried leaves: kuka (Best 1898).

Click to collapse Food Info

"The root is eaten; when cooked it is called kauru, and is very full of saccharine matter." (Taylor 1855)

Bitter sap present in C. australis leaves absent in tōī. Leaves sometimes steamed and fleshy part eaten. The kāuru, or upper part of the trunk, sometimes eaten prepared as tī, but doesnt seem to have been much appreciated. Outside of kāuru cut off before steaming. Taproot also eaten. Young leaves used as a vegetable. (Best 1907).

Best 1902 says roots of tōī not eaten.

Click to collapse Fibre Info

"The fibre of this tree is remarkably strong and durable; the natives use it in the manufacture of rough mats. It is peculiarly adapted for rope, as it does not contract in water like the phormium tenax. (Taylor 1855)

Very strong, heavy cloaks called tōī made. Dyed black are greatly prized. (Colenso 1868a, 1868b; Best 1898). Making confined to natives of mountainous interior, where alone those plants grow (Colenso 1891b).

Strong leaves have a peculiar elasticity when strained lengthwise. Red midrib (tuaka) used for waistbelts, coarse fibre for raincapes. More durable than Phormium. In making rough raincapes (loosely hanging outside pieces to turn the rain) the dry leaves of previous years were used. Called kuka (Best 1907).

Preparation of tōī capes described in Best 1898. Dyed black when finished. Remain waterproof for years. A fine bright-coloured red strip for plaiting into baskets is obtained from the midrib (tuaka) of the tōī.

Pokeka-tōī is made of whītau to which is attached the big leaves of tōī; its very wide flaxlike leaves are excellent for warding off showers. (Beattie 1994)

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Used for binding adze handles (Numia Kereru, Tūhoe, quoted in Best 1912).

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Epidermis of midrib dyed red and used for patterning on poi (Best 1925).

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28 May 2007
7 July 2021
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