New Zealand Flax

New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax)


Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment: 8 High Risk

Regulatory Status: None

Prevention and Control Category: MoMISC Target Species. BIISC EDRR Species


  • Plant to 2 m (6 ft) tall, with smooth, leathery, sword-shaped leaves that grow clumped in a fan shape

  • Native to New Zealand, introduced as an ornamental in the late 1800’s, introduced to Molokai in late 1960s-early 1970s


  • Crowds out other vegetation and blocks sunlight

  • Plants may have as many as 10,000 seeds/flower that spread with the wind

  • Also produces clones, which sprout up and spread out

  • Known pest on St. Helena Island

In Hawaii

  • Kauai: Present in landscaped areas.

  • Oahu: Present in landscaped areas.

  • Maui: Present in landscaped areas.

  • Molokai: Present in native high-elevation ohia-uluhe rainforest in Kamakou Reserve, Puu Kauwa, Molokai Forest. MoMISC is working to control this pest where possible.

  • Big Island: Present in landscaped areas.

For more information, see