|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Dracophyllum latifolium Neinei Grass tree|
Dracophyllum trees or shrubs possess a striking and unusual form. They are members of the Epacris family, which is almost wholly confined to New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia. Other members of the family include Leucopogon, Gaultheria and Archeria. They have various forms ranging from cushion or prostrate plants to shrubs and small trees.
The trees and shrubs make a strong contrast in the forests and shrub lands with their strong upright symmetry, reddish-purple undersides of their leaves, and the flush of red on the new growth.
Neinei is a tree up to 7 m, with a trunk up to 30 cm in diameter and
a rough, brown bark. The candelabra-like branches carry at their tips large glossy leaves in dense clusters, measuring 25–60 cm long by 2.5–3.3 cm wide. Numerous small, reddish flowers arise in a panicle, 14–45 cm long, from the centre of the leaf tuft.
Neinei is an astonishing plant that captures
an ambience of primitive grandeur. It is one of
the few dicotyledonous flowering plants with
parallel veins on the leaf, usually a characteristic
of the monocotyledon grasses. This feature is the
reason for its common name of grass tree.
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