Despite its tropical appearance the hardy evergreen cabbage palm thrives on the Systematic Beds.
A member of the Asparagus family (Asparagaceae) Cordyline australis is a native of New Zealand, and was introduced into cultivation in 1823. It is a distinctive, structural species which can reach 10 m in height. It has an erect trunk, at the top of which sits a dense crown of arching, sword-shaped leaves. Large panicles of small white flowers are produced in summer, and these are followed by white, or blue-white berries which persist throughout winter. C. australis is referred to in Māori as ti kōuka, and the cabbage-like stems were stripped, cooked, and eaten as a bitter vegetable, and the fibres were used to produce ropes, baskets, mats, capes and sandals. C. australis thrives in milder areas of the British Isles given a warm, sunny site and fertile, well-drained soil.