The Terrace Garden was replanted around three years ago to exhibit the fascinating flora of New Zealand. The islands' isolation has encouraged a diverse flora rich in endemic plants - those that grow nowhere else. Together the planting has a very distinct, rather eerie feel quite alien to the lush British herbaceous flora.
Clumps of rather usually unremarkable Aciphylla colensoi have suddenly become some of the most fantastical as long inflorescences are elongating and curving out from the thickly leaved basal rosettes of fine celadon spears. Tightly knotted flowerheads are dotted along the conical spire, which are ferociously armed with protective fine spines, orange tipped and pungent.
Only close and persistent inspection (running the risk of damage to the retina from the very sharp protective spines), would reveal this plant to be in the Apiaceae family, and therefore a relative of the carrot and many of culinary herbs such as parsley, dill, fennel and aniseed.