Foraging Workshop dates currently being rescheduled due to alert level changes

Harakeke cont.

An ode to our native Harakeke (Phormium tenax)...

I'm in awe of this hardy coastal plant as I've come to discover a use for every part of the plant...

This weekend my family all helped out to harvest ripe black flax seeds, which we'll use in baking & salads throughout the year. It takes time, gathering the seedpods without dropping the seeds, then tipping them all out into a container, so it was lovely to have the whole family onboard.

Meanwhile my daughter gathered a few flax leaves, which she started to prepare for weaving with the back of a seashell. She only took 2 leaves, as you should never take more than you need, and will collect more as she needs it. She taught us about saying a karakia, how to cut correctly and to only take what's needed.

I'd like to try making some twine with the flax leaves to use when ecoprinting, I tie my bundles very tightly, and it would be interesting to see how flax leaves hold up.

Last week, by fluke, I discovered that the stalks of the flax stem made a great rod to wrap my woolen bundles around when ecoprinting, leaving a delicate pattern. So I've chopped the stalks into segments that will fit into my dyepot.

The seed pods I've been using for black/brown prints on merino.

So far we've used every part of the plant, without any waste (finished pods & offcuts have been used as fire starters), and that's without even getting into the medicinal uses. The 'goo' is incredible for healing burn wounds.

We've transplanted quite a few flax plants up the back of our property to hold up the slope that's falling down, flax plants make good, hardy groundcovers. (We got ours for free on the side of the road, people often rip them out as they can takeover...).

I also love to see all the tui feeding on the bright red flowers in spring/summer, they're a magnet for native birds.

I'd love to hear how you use your flax plants?

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