Renga renga Lily
Botanical name: Arthropoduim cirratum
Common name: Renga renga lily
Hardy, adaptable, good form and flowers - this is one of our most useful natives.
Endemic to New Zealand, it grows in coastal scrub and cliff faces around the North Island and top end of the South Island. But its worth in the garden goes far beyond this.
The leaves are long and fleshy, forming a solid clump something between a flax and a hosta. From November to January panicles of white to cream flowers with a touch of mauve appear, held well above the leaves. Again, the effect is hosta-like. But unlike hostas, it is an evergreen.
In flower, the dimensions are 70cm x 70cm.
Thrives in most soils in either sun or shade. It is happy as a graceful water-side plant and is a useful accent in the border. Naturally, it is also a hardy coastal plant, and is useful on dry banks. The flowers are good for cutting, lasting well in water.
But it is its ability to thrive in dry shade that is probably its most desirable quality. It is particularly fine as a groundcover under trees, flourishing even under pines.
A. cirratum is not immune to frosts, and does best in the open only in areas where frosts are light. But with some protection, such as under trees or eaves, it handles central North Island winters without trouble and is happy through much of the South Island.
The main enemy is slugs and snails, which can shred the leaves. Protect using your favourite anti-slug measures.