Description: Tall, tufted, perennial herbs, rhizomatous.
Leaves linear-ensiform, equitant.
Inflorescence paniculate, with deciduous sheathing bracts; upper bracts smaller, subtending short flowering branchlets. Flowers slightly zygomorphic, bisexual; pedicels articulated; perianth segments forming a tube, free or connate at base; inner segments slightly longer than outer. Stamens inserted near base of tube, unequally exserted; anthers dorsifixed. Ovary superior, elongate; ovules in 3 rows, axile; style filiform, terete; stigma small.
Fruit an elongate loculicidal capsule; seeds numerous, more or less flattened, black.
Distribution and occurrence: Two species; New Zealand and Norfolk Island. Commonly cultivated as an ornamental; P. tenax has been recorded as occasionally naturalised in the Blue Mountains.
Phormium is sometimes placed in the family Hemerocallidaceae.
Text by KL Wilson (June-July 2008; edited Dec 2010) based on PS Green (1994) Flora of Australia vol. 49
Taxon concept: PS Green (1994) Flora of Australia vol. 49
|One species in NSW: Phormium tenax|