Typha orientalis



Raupō, scientifically known as Typha orientalis, is a native wetland plant commonly found in New Zealand. It is a tall and robust perennial herb that grows in dense clusters along the edges of lakes, ponds, swamps, and other freshwater habitats. Raupō has long, strap-like leaves that can reach heights of up to three meters. The leaves are green and have a slightly rough texture.


Raupō thrives in wetland environments and plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of these habitats. It can be found throughout New Zealand in both natural and constructed wetlands. Raupō's extensive root system helps stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, while its leaves provide shelter for various organisms.

Cultural Importance

Raupō has significant cultural importance to Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. It is used in traditional weaving and crafting, particularly for creating whāriki (woven mats), kete (baskets), and tukutuku panels. Māori have utilised raupō for centuries, showcasing their resourcefulness and connection to the land.

Ecological Role

Raupō provides important habitat and food sources for a variety of native birds, insects, and aquatic species. Its dense stands offer nesting sites and protection for wetland birds, such as pūkeko (purple swamphen) and dabchicks. Raupō also contributes to water filtration and nutrient absorption, improving water quality in wetland ecosystems.

Associated Birds

Pūkeko: The Pūkeko, also known as the purple swamp hen, is a prominent bird found in wetland areas throughout New Zealand. They are known for their blue-black plumage, red bill, and long legs. Pūkeko often forage in the Raupō stands for tender shoots, seeds, insects, and small vertebrates.

Fernbird: The New Zealand Fernbird is a native bird species that can be found in wetland environments, including those with Raupō. They have a brownish plumage, a white throat patch, and a slender bill. Fernbirds are known for their distinctive song and feed on insects and spiders found in the wetland vegetation.

Spotless Crake: The Spotless Crake is a small, secretive bird native to New Zealand that is associated with wetlands, including those containing Raupō. They have brown plumage with white spots, a short bill, and strong legs. Spotless Crakes feed on small invertebrates and are often found in dense vegetation near water.

Conservation Status

Raupō is not currently considered a threatened species. However, wetland ecosystems, including those where raupō thrives, are facing significant challenges due to habitat loss, drainage, and pollution. Conservation efforts aim to protect and restore wetlands, raising awareness about the importance of these unique environments and the role raupō plays in supporting biodiversity.

Interesting Facts:

  1. Raupō has cylindrical flower spikes called catkins, which appear during the summer months. These catkins contain tiny flowers and can reach lengths of up to 30 centimeters.
  2. Māori traditionally used raupō leaves for thatching roofs, constructing walls, and creating temporary shelters.
  3. Raupō provides nesting materials for birds, including the soft, fluffy seed heads that are often used in bird nests.
  4. The plant's seeds are dispersed by wind, water, or attached to animals, helping raupō colonize new areas.
  5. Raupō's ability to absorb excess nutrients from water contributes to improving water quality and reducing the impacts of nutrient pollution in wetlands.

Conservation Tips

To contribute to the conservation of raupō and wetland ecosystems, support initiatives focused on wetland restoration and protection. Avoid draining or altering natural wetland areas without proper authorization. Learn about the cultural significance of raupō and wetlands in Māori traditions and respect these cultural connections. Participate in community clean-up events to remove litter and pollutants from wetland areas. Educate others about the importance of wetlands and their role in supporting biodiversity and water quality.