New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1999) 23(1): 81- 85

Phormium tenax, an unusual nurse plant

Research Article
Stephen D. Reay 1,2
David A. Norton 1,*
  1. Conservation Research Group, School of Forestry, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 1, New Zealand
  2. Present address: 32 Cranbourne Rd, Auckland, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

In this paper we document the role of Phormium tenax as a nurse plant in unimproved pasture. We show that for our study area the regeneration of woody species was limited solely to P. tenax clumps with 22 native and one introduced regenerating woody species present. The number of woody species and of individual woody plants regenerating within P. tenax is not correlated with distance from the edge of the remnant forest but is significantly correlated with P. tenax clump area. P. tenax is acting as a nurse plant facilitating the succession from pasture to forest and we suggest that this species has considerable potential for use in restoration plantings.