Botanical name: Cordyline australis. banksii x pumillio
Photo from: Morris & James Pottery & Tileworks
Information supplied by:
Kate Jacobsen D.I.P.Soc,P.F.A.
Coromandel Town, NZ
Family name: agavaceae
Common name: "Red Fountain"
Cordyline australis, a N.Z. native has come a long way from the cabbage tree which our early settlers knew and which featured so much in early paintings. The centres were eaten as a green vegetable, the Maori also made much use of its medicinal properties, healing cuts & sores, a cure for dysentery & stomach pains.
A handsome feature it is still as popular as ever, grouped by stream edges on farms or edges of native bush, to tubs featured in courtyards. lts popularity has never wavered but now with plant breeding there seems to be a cordyline for every position and the colour range expands every season.
Last year the N.Z.Gardener featured an advertisement for pots and in one was a glorious cordyline, not with the dull light absorbing surface which until now seems to have been a feature but this had wonderful strappy, bright burgundy red leaves which glowed. Until recently I had been unnable to locate the source of this plant but on a recent foraging trip to Taranaki I found it and quote some of its catalogue description, "Cordyline 'Red Fountain' a spectacular recent release by the Jurys, a dwarf cordyline, its trunk won't exceed 10cm'', but its leaves are incredibly long and do indeed fountain out. lts promised soft pink powers, scented in spring, a treat to come. I see it as an amazing landscape plant which will be lovely at edges of pools and its leaf luminosity is even better in real life then it is in the picture. Being a protected plant under 'Plant Variety Rights' makes it even more special.
From a floral perspective:
N.Z. has some of the Worlds top Professional Florists & Floral Artists and I know that this plant is going to create a huge amount of interest in the 'Floral World' when our lnternational Designers begin using it overseas. As a florist you don't 'want' it, you 'NEED' it.