Tī Kōuka

Cordyline australis

Tī Kōuka


Ti Kouka, also known as Cordyline australis or the cabbage tree, is a distinctive tree-like plant native to New Zealand. It can reach a height of 10-20 meters and has a slender trunk topped by a dense cluster of long, sword-shaped leaves.


Ti Kouka is found throughout New Zealand and can tolerate a range of environmental conditions. It is commonly found in coastal areas, wetlands, and open forests.

Cultural Importance

Ti Kouka has significant cultural importance to Māori. The leaves were used for thatching, weaving, and making ropes and baskets. The soft inner core of the young plants was a valuable food source, and the roots were used in traditional medicine.

Ecological Role

Ti Kouka provides habitat and food for native birds, insects, and lizards. Its flowers are rich in nectar and attract birds, while the fruit is eaten by several bird species. The plant also helps stabilise soil and prevent erosion.

Associated Birds

Silvereye: Silvereyes, also known as waxeyes, are small passerine birds. They are often found in Kanuka forests, where they feed on the nectar, fruit, and insects associated with the tree.

Kereru: Kereru, or New Zealand pigeons, are large, endemic birds known for their distinctive appearance and iridescent feathers. They are known to feed on the leaves, buds, and flowers of the Kanuka tree.

Grey warbler: Grey warblers are small insectivorous birds that are commonly found in Kanuka forests. They construct delicate nests among the branches and feed on the insects that live in and around the trees.

Whitehead: Whiteheads are small songbirds that are often found in Kanuka forests. They forage for insects and spiders on the tree's branches and are known for their distinctive white heads, giving them their name.

Bellbird: The Bellbird, or Korimako, is a medium-sized songbird with a melodious and bell-like call. They are attracted to the nectar-rich flowers of Karamu trees and also consume berries and insects.

Fantail: The Fantail, or Pīwakawaka, is an agile bird known for its distinctive fan-shaped tail and acrobatic flight. They can often be spotted in Karamu trees, where they hunt insects by fluttering and flicking their tail.

Tui: Tui birds are attracted to Karamu trees for their nectar-rich flowers. They have a beautiful plumage and a unique song, often engaging in impressive aerial displays while feeding on the Karamu tree's nectar.

Conservation Status

Ti Kouka is not currently listed as a threatened species. However, like other native plants, it can be impacted by habitat loss and introduced pests.

Interesting Facts

  • The name "cabbage tree" comes from the young leaves, which were traditionally eaten raw or cooked and tasted similar to cabbage.
  • Ti Kouka has a slow growth rate and can live for several decades.

Conservation Tips

To support the conservation of Ti Kouka, you can plant native trees in your area, avoid removing mature specimens unless necessary, and participate in local restoration efforts.