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Plant Collections

New Zealand Collection

New Zealand's flora is as varied as its rugged terrain. Approximately 85% of New Zealand plants are endemic, meaning that they only occur in New Zealand.

Designed by former Director, William Guilfoyle it uses striking foliage plants such as New Zealand flax and cordylines to provide focal points and delineate vistas. The bold foliage and adaptability of New Zealand plants makes them just as popular with gardeners worldwide.

Best Viewed

  • Spring


Arthropodium cirratum Rengarenga

Lily to 80 cm.

Hebe speciosa Showy Speedwell

Showy Speedwell to 2 m.

Phormium cookianum

Green Mountain Flax 90 cm.

Plant Census

Find out what plants grow at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.

Key Plants

Podocarpus totara Totara

Conifer to 30 m.

Rhopalostylis sapida Nikau Palm

Palm to 15 m.

Sophora microphylla Kowhai

Yellow flowering tree to 25 m.

Phormium tenax New Zealand Flax

Fan-like herb to 3 m.

Cordyline australis Cabbage Tree

Palm-like tree to 20 m.

Dacrydium cupressinum Rimu

Conifer to 30 m.

Metrosideros carminea Crimson Rata

Red flowering low shrub-climber.

Arthropodium cirratum Rengarenga

White flowering lily to 80 cm.

Pseudopanax ferox Fierce Lancewood.

Small tree to 8 m.

Hebe speciosa Showy Speedwell

Spreading shrub to 2 m.

Cyathea dealbata Silver Tree Fern

Tree fern to 10 m.

Curator Notes

  1. Hebes require regular pruning to maintain vigour and form.
  2. Divide Arthropodium cirratum every few years to encourage flowering.
  3. The juvenile foliage of many New Zealand plants, such as Pseudopanax ferox, is often dramatically different from their adult form.


  • 1906 - Last major landscape development of William Guilfoyle’s completed.
  • 1980s - A number of plants were brought into the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne from Mt. Lofty, Melbourne nurseries and the index seminum.
  • 1990s - Donations received from Alistair Watt and John Feruglio.
  • 1991 - Major donation of plant material received from Wellington Botanic Gardens.
  • 1991 - Redevelopment proposal submitted and approved. Planting plan prepared and additional species obtained and progressively planted.
  • 1995 - Plant material obtained from Index Semina and Mt. Tomah Botanic Gardens. (Don Schoefield).
  • 1998 - Collection placed on priority list for redevelopment. Detailed planning and costing carried out.
  • 1997 - Major donation of plant material sent to Gisborne Botanic Gardens.
  • 1998 - Sourcing and planting of severalRhopalostylis sapida (Nikau Palm).