Plants that tolerate wet conditions and exposure to full sun and wind are necessary for wetland and stream restoration. Using a small range of Southland species you will have most success. It is important to follow the stream profile diagram for the placement of plants closest to the water. The following is a list of Southland native plants that thrive in wet places and are the most suitable for Southland.

Recommended plants

Cabbage Tree / Ti kouka (Cordyline australis)

  • Height: Up to 20 metres.
  • Form: Distinctive palm-like tree, unbranched trunk in young tree and branching in the upper half of older trees.
  • Bark: Grey, thick, corky and rough.
  • Leaves: Mass of long leaves (up to 1m) at the end of stems.
  • Flowers: Small, sweet scented, white, in panicles up to 1m long.
  • Fruit: Whitish berries becoming dry.

Flax / Harakeke (Phormium tenax)

  • Height: 1-3 metres.
  • Form: Robust, fan-like clumps of leaves.
  • Leaves: Long and fibrous.
  • Flowers: Stalk, 3-5m tall, reddish or orange-yellow flowers.
  • Fruit: Dark seed capsule with glossy black seeds – upright pod.

Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)

  • Height: Up to 8 metres.
  • Form: Large shrub or small tree.
  • Bark: Stringy grey-brown bark, peels off in long strips.
  • Leaves: Small, prickly to touch.
  • Flowers: Masses of white flowers.
  • Fruit: Characteristic woody seed capsules.

Mingimingi (Coprosma propinqua)

  • Height: Up to 5 metres.
  • Form: Bushy tangled dark shrub.
  • Bark: Grey.
  • Leaves: Small, dark green, thick, paler underneath.
  • Flowers: Solitary or in clusters, male and female on separate plants.
  • Fruit: Translucent blue, flecked with darker blue.

Purei / Makura (Carex secta)

  • Height: Up to 1.5 metres.
  • Form: Harsh, spreading tussocks on trunk-like base.
  • Leaves: Thin (3-7mm), cutty, drooping.
  • Flowers: In spikes - drooping.

Purei (Carex virgata)

  • Height: Up to 1.0 metre.
  • Form: Dense, harsh, spreading tussock (no trunk).
  • Leaves: Thin (2-4mm), cutty, drooping.
  • Flowers: In spikes – not drooping.

Red tussock (Chionochloa rubra)

  • Height: 1 - 1.5 metres.
  • Form: Tall tussock.
  • Leaves: Long, rigid, rolled, red-brown.
  • Flowers: Large spikelets.

Ribbonwood / Manatu (Plagianthus regius)

  • Height: Up to 17 metres.
  • Form: Deciduous tree with interlaced branched juvenile form.
  • Bark: Clean trunks with lacy bark.
  • Leaves: Pale green, toothed, soft, deciduous.
  • Flowers: Yellowish-green, tiny, in clusters, male and female on separate plants.
  • Fruit: Downy seed capsules.

South Island kowhai (Sophora microphylla)

  • Height: Up to 10 metres.
  • Form: Small tree, with feathery foliage, young plants form twiggy bushes, with lots of intertwining branches, adult has characteristic drooping foliage.
  • Bark: Grey.
  • Leaves: 20-40 opposite pairs of small round leaflets.
  • Flowers: Large, yellow, drooping.
  • Fruit: Long brown pea-like pods containing hard yellow seeds.

Toetoe (Cortaderia richardii)

  • Height: 1 metre or more tall.
  • Form: Very robust tussock, coarse.
  • Leaves: Long, grass-like, green, rough to touch.
  • Flowers: Heads reach up to 2m tall, white and feathery.

Weeping mapou (Myrsine divaricata)

  • Height: Up to 3.5 metres.
  • Form: Bushy, divaricating shrub, weeping habit.
  • Leaves: Small, green, leathery, sometimes with tiny notch in top.
  • Flowers: Yellow or red petals, tiny, in clusters.