May 25, 2020

On Your Toetoe

Austroderia - Toetoe

Pamela Rogers Photo | Austroderia – Toetoe

Talk about grass and most would think of lawns and mowing. But tall grasses are a whole different ballgame. Native to New Zealand is Toetoe, five species of tall grass that are members of the Austroderia genus. A Maori word pronounced “toy-toy,” Toetoe is New Zealand’s largest native grass, growing up to 9 feet in height.In 2011, the five species were reclassified as Austroderia from the Cortaderia genus, where there are two closely related species, C. jubata and C. selloana, better known as Pampas grass. There are differences between the Pampas and Toetoe: Among them, Toetoe has a drooping flower head and a plume that is cream in color. Like many native plants, the Maori used these grasses in a number of ways, including in making baskets, kites, mats and roof thatching, as well as medicinally for kidney ailments and burns.

This photograph was taken at Queen Elizabeth Park in Paekakariki on the North Island of New Zealand by Pamela Rogers. You can read more about how Garden Maine and Pamela met here.