July 21, 2017

Comb, Please

Plants from Middle Earth

Garden Maine’s New Zealand Extravaganza – Celebrating a Completely Unexpected Journey

Anna Paton Photo | Carex secta or makuru

Anna Paton Photo | Carex secta or makuru

It’s not often you read that you should comb a plant to make it look pretty, but Carex secta has just such a recommendation.This sedge, called Makuru, is endemic to New Zealand (see explanation below), growing 3 feet tall and wide. It is common in swampy areas of the country and is hardy to Zone 6 in the United States, which now includes a tiny bit of the coast of Maine. According to the Native Plant Centre, “Older plants in moist to wet sites, often form thick trunk-like bases 1 metre tall from its own tightly matted roots.” The color also varies, with it turning more yellow-green in sunnier locations. As for the combing, that would address the need to get rid of older growth to help older plants look better.

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Photographs kindly provided by Anna Paton of Auckland, New Zealand, at Auckland Botanic Gardens in November 2012. For a brief interview with Anna, click to read here.

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“New Zealand’s flora is described as being unique due to our long isolation many thousands of years ago. We have some 2,357 different plant species and approximately 80% of them are endemic, meaning they don’t occur anywhere else in the world.”

– From the Auckland Botanic Gardens website

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How did all this come about? You can read about how Janine Pineo of Garden Maine found Anna Paton, more than 9,000 miles away, as the crow flies. If a crow could fly 9,000 miles like that. Click here for that story.