Gathan Beaga

vote horoeka for prime minister

I came across a snippet in today’s DomPost about the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. Apparently they are having a vote to elect New Zealand’s favourite native plant, so I thought I’d better track them down and have my say.

Like the paper says, at least we’ll get a clear result (see here), and the current leader, the kōwhai, is as as well placed to run the country as any.

But I’m not so keen on the kōwhai, I mean really, it’s a bit bland, isn’t it? Here’s my selections (you can vote up to five times):

  • Horoeka, or Lancewood. A fascinating plant whose outline and leaves change dramatically through its life, from juvenile to adult. Presumably an evolutionary response to browsing moas, and thus an echo of other things that we have lost. (#7 at the time of writing.)
  • Ti Kouka, or Cabbage tree. An iconic NZ plant – and certainly a better icon than the pohutukawa, given that plant’s limited distribution. (#5 at the time of writing.)
  • Manuka. For me, the foliage and flowers bring the smell of summer; hot dry dusty lakeside days with manuka scenting the air… (#38 at the time of writing.)
  • Snow Grass. I hope this is the right one. Sometimes, when undisturbed by fire or cattle for many years, they can form spectacular stands that, when flowering, can reach more than six feet in height. Playing amongst these, their sound and smell all about, is an abiding childhood memory. (Not in the top 50 at the time of writing.)

Any suggestions for other plants for my last vote? Reasoned arguments, please. (Passionate argument is OK too.)