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Beever James. 1981. The origin of the name Cabbage Tree for Cordyline species in New Zealand. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin 41: 50-58

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During the 17th century, the common name "cabbage tree" was used for palms by English speaking people in the West Indies and elsewhere. Term also used by sailors. Journals of the early New Zealand explorers used the name for the nīkau palm.

First published use of cabbage tree for Cordyline species which has been located is that of Polack 1838. After a period of transition the use of the term for nīkau, Rhopalostylis sapida was dropped and cabbage tree became reserved for tī, Cordyline.

In recent years editors of new editions of early New Zealand explorers' journals have sometimes supplied misleading or incorrect information in footnotes concerning cabbage trees, mainly because they thought Cook's expedition created the name in New Zealand. (author's abstract).

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The origin of the name Cabbage Tree for Cordyline species in New Zealand

Beever James
Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin

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12 June 2007
20 June 2020
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