Factsheet S12: New Zealand flax – Phormium tenax
New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax, is a large evergreen perennial, usually treated as a shrub although it is not strictly woody. It is quite unrelated to true flax, being part of the Agave family, but can supply a fibre of great versatility and value, hence its name and the alternative, New Zealand hemp (the Maori name is Harakeke). It is native to New Zealand and other nearby islands, but is quite at home in Britain and Ireland, particularly in coastal areas, where it has naturalised in places. It is winter hardy to at least -11°C.