Flax Foliage

Common Names: New Zealand Flax, New Zealand Hemp

Botanical names: Phormium tenax, FOR-mee-um TEN-ax

Availability: Year round

Vase life: 5-14 days.

Storage temperatures: Chill sensitive, store above 55F.

Ethylene Sensitive: No

Description: Long, slender leaves up to 36 inches in length pointed at the ends and often multicolored. The leaves are flexible, smooth and glossy, with a slightly waxy texture.

Color: Green, Purple, Red, White, Green & White Varigated

Botanical facts: The name comes from the Greek “phormion” (mat) referring to the fiber produced from the leaves. The specific epithet name tenax means strong or tenacious, referring to the strong fiber.

Design notes: Flax foliage can be used in a wide range of floral designs, from modern and minimalist arrangements to more elaborate and traditional styles. The architectural form offers a bold and dramatic texture that adds interest to floral arrangements. Flax can be manipulated to create striking lines in a design.

Purchasing hints: Select leaves that are of perfect color, without yellowing, blemishes or damage.

Conditioning: Cut two inches off of the stem ends with a sharp knife. Hydrate in water only for two hours before storage or usage. Store in water only.

Additional notes: New Zealand Flax has significant cultural importance to the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand. Traditionally, they used various parts of the plant for weaving, making baskets, mats, clothing, and other items. The plant holds symbolic value and is considered a taonga (treasure) in Māori culture.