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Illustration for "Plants of the Gouland Downs
and Perry Pass" ISSN 0375-0108

Pencil and Ink Drawings:
"Dracophyllum" - The NZ Dragon Tree.

The Dracophyllums are what Laing and Blackwell in the great old handbook "Plants of New Zealand" refer to as a:

"strange genus of Australasian and New Caledonian Epacrids (Heaths) known locally as Grass-trees."

There are about 35 species.

The leaves are long and grass-like, bunched at the ends of the branches, and in fact the name Dracophyllum is an allusion to their resemblance to the famed Dragon-tree of Teneriffe, but they are in no way related to it.

They are a familiar feature of New Zealand landscapes, not to be confused with Cabbage trees (Cordyline spp - which bear no resemblance whatever to cabbages), and are to be found especially in the bush and in alpine and sub-alpine areas.

Species on the mainland of New Zealand are very local in their distribution. Some are found in lowland districts, but many are alpine. The flowers are most often carried in bracts rather than singly - see illustration below.

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