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Products > Astelia banksii
Astelia banksii - Shore Astelia

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Asteliaceae (Asparagales)
Origin: New Zealand (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: NA
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 2-4 feet
Width: 3-4 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Astelia banksii (Shore Astelia) - Evergreen perennial from the lowland and coastal forests of the North Island of New Zealand that grows to 3 to 4 feet tall. The silvery/pale-green foliage of this species is narrow and slightly recurved. As with other Astelia, the male and female flowers are on separate plants (Dioecious), neither are showy and are usually down in the foliage. Plant in full coastal sun to light shade in a well draining soil. Although this plant can take extended periods without irrigation, it looks better if given occasional water. Hardy to 20-25 F - our large specimen plant in the garden was unharmed during the January 2007 freeze with 3 nights in a row at 25 F. A great plant for a container, a specimen or for a mass planting in the garden. There are 25 species of Astelia, 13 endemic to New Zealand - this coastal species in found on the North Island from the North Cape to Taranaki and Hawke's Bay. The name of the genus comes from combining the Greek words 'a' meaning "without" and 'stele' meaning a "trunk" or "pillar" in reference to these plants not forming a stem or trunk. The specific epithet authored by British botanist Allan Cunningham in 1837 honors British naturalist and botanist Sir Joseph Banks. The fruit of this plant is called Wharawhara in New Zealand and the town of Kaiwharawhara, a seaside suburb of Wellingoton (also known as Kaiwarra), takes its name from the abundance of this plant there. The Astelia have long been considered part of the Liliaceae family but most recent treatment puts them in the Asteliaceae family in the Asparagales order with the relatively unknown genera Collospermum, Milligania and Neoastelia. We received our original stock of this plant from Graham Platt's Nursery north of Auckland, which we visited in 1994, and after dividing for 6 years were first able to begin selling it in 2000. Since then this reliable plant has become more common in the trade and there are even compact selections that have been made.  The information on this page is based on our research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery containers, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Astelia banksii.