Golden Spaniard, Taramea
Aciphylla is a most unusual genus of plants, native to New Zealand with one exception. It belongs in the Apiaceae and is thus related to carrot, parsley, dill, celery etc. In appearance however, Aciphylla has little in common with these vegetables but rather has thick, very hard, spiky foliage in rosettes much more reminiscent of certain Agave or Yucca. A. aurea is a moderately large species that forms a hemispherical cluster of golden green, sometimes glaucous, spiky foliage to more than 1 m (4 ft.)across and 50 cm (20 in.) tall. The sparsely pinnate leaf has 5 to 9 narrow, relatively broad, simple of bifid, sharply pointed leaflets to 30 cm (12 in.) long and 1 cm (0.4 in.) wide. It is native to the drier, eastern side of the South Island of New Zealand. In cultivation it will do best in cool or cold temperate, oceanic climates, where it requires a sunny or only lightly shaded spot. It does not like high summer temperatures and is a perfect replacement for Agave and Yucca in such climates. For best germination results, keep seeds after sowing at around 20ºC (68ºF) for two to four weeks, then expose to light frost for about a month, finally keep around 10ºC (50ºF) for germination. This process simulates winter and is required to break down germination inhibitors. Germination may occasionally still take months, sometimes over a year before sprouting.