The 2009 Vote For the Top Ten Most Favourite Native Plants

More than 100 species were voted for in a vote dominated by the Pingao Pressure Group and those promoting tree nettle - habitat for red admiral butterflies. Other people voted for plants in their garden, plants that brought back childhood memories and threatened species deserved promotion to increase attention on their plight. Pingao, pikao or golden sand sedge won in the end and was voted New Zealand’s favourite plant for 2009. The top ten were as follows with a selected comment:

1. Pingao – Desmoschoenus spiralis
“Its gorgeous yellow orange colour and bold slender leaves that give the plant a fantastic form. It is a great for weaving and makes beautiful kete and has a long history of being used by Maori. It is also great for binding sand and growing sand dunes.” By Iain.

2. Tree nettle – Urtica ferox
“Sick of kids climbing over the fence to pinch your fruit? Tadaaaaaaaaaa Urtica ferox.......they don't call it ferox for nothing! And good idea to host a few gorgeous Admirals too.” By Jane.

3. Bartlett’s rata – Metrosideros bartlettii
“Ten reasons why it should be No. 1:
1. It has white flowers - so that colour blind people can see it as well
2. It is taller than pohutukawa
3. You can say "Rartletts Bata"
4. The bark can be used for tissue paper
5. Y Not?
6. It can't bite, sting, poison or kill you
7. Well it could kill you if you stood under it and it fell on you
8. It is not a nettle - but butterflies, moths etc like its nectar
9. It supports an endemic liverwort
10. It is an oddball in the tree subgenus Metrosideros.” By Brian.

4. Chatham island speargrass – Aciphylla dieffenbachii
“Well it’s a novel plant and seems to fit in with this years voting theme of all things dull and ugly.” By Owen.

5. Kowhai ngutukaka (kakabeak) – Clianthus maximus
“It stopped me dead in my tracks one day on an otherwise uneventful walk to the bus. So vibrant and with a common name of Kaka beak - implies all sorts of fun stuff doesn't it?” By Wendy.

6. Chatham island forget-me-not – Myosotidium hortensium
“Every year we have a competition to see who can get the largest amount of flowers! Quite a thing to achieve in Whakamaru!” By J&S.

7. Southern rata – Metrosideros umbellata
“I love the spash of colour it shows around christmas, whole valleys in the southisland are suddenly dark, deep crimson.” By Sacha.

8. Pohutukawa – Metrosideros excelsa
“Flowering Pohutukawa are an uplifting sight - bold, red and beautiful, a stunning accent to the coastline, heralding the start of summer and the festive season.” By Denyse.

9. Creeping fuchsia – Fuchsia procumbens
"An amazing ground cover and has lovely little flowers. Also very hardy (doesn't mind dry, semi-shade and isn't eaten by slugs and snails)" By Andrew.

10. Fish guts plantChenopodium detestans
“Edaphic, endemics rock.” By Matt.