Plagianthus Regius (New Zealand Cottonwood or Ribbonwood Tree)

A visually intriguing and unusual deciduous tree. It has small leaves on divaricating, (interlacing) branches as a juvenile plant but on the broad headed, adult tree the leaves are larger and irregularly pointed. The tiny yellow-green trumpet flowers are borne in clusters. Grows to 17m. Please contact us for stock availability and sizes.

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Hardiness level Amber

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A striking and unusual tree if you are looking for a characterful rare specimen to add both structure and intricacy to your garden. This deciduous tree will reach an eventual height of around 17m. Its leaves have two distinct forms, altering as it matures. Juvenile trees have small leaves on divaricating (interlacing) branches, that are dense and close textured. This profusion of sinuous young stems makes for an intriguing visual mass. An older tree will tend towards foliage that is larger and irregularly pointed, developing a broad-headed canopy. Its branches form shapely arabesques of characterful gnarly bark. Mature trees of 10 years or more also bear clusters of tiny yellow-green trumpet flowers from May to June.

Found throughout New Zealand, this tree occurs naturally in coastal to hilly areas. Its preference is for fertile, moist but free-draining soil. Once rooted and happy, it’s hardy and wind resistant - further reasons why it’s a good choice for a large garden or an even more expansive site.

An intriguing feature: mature specimens can often retain a lower ‘skirt’ of juvenile leaves on their lower boughs, creating a striking textural two-tone contrast. If anyone asks you can also tell them their Maori name is ‘Manatu’ and was an important resource for all sorts of textile making, and the fibres from the inner bark were used to make fishing nets.

N.B. As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well-watered when first planted.


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