Chatham Island Speargrass, 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. traversii is a larger species to 80 cm (32 in.) tall and forms clusters of stiff, pinnate, green leaves. Next to A. dieffenbachii, it is one of only two species of Aciphylla endemic to the Chatham Islands, where it is found in peat swamps, along lake margins and in open areas on peaty soils. In cultivation it will do best in a cool temperate, oceanic climate, 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. A. traversii may benefit from cold stratification for a few weeks after sowing.