Through Laura’s Lens: Meet Your New Favorite Plant


Blooming now, Cordyline shebertti at the Burke Brothers "Executive Surfers' Retreat," a showcase garden.

Meet Cordyline, a member of the asparagus family also known as the Hawaiian ti plant. This useful plant was brought to the islands by the seafaring Polynesians in their canoes. Varieties of this species are grown for food—the sweet rhizomes are eaten. It can also be fermented and then distilled into an alcoholic beverage.

Ti leaves were used to make clothing, including hula skirts, but only kahuna (high priests) and ali’i (chiefs) were allowed to wear the leaves during religious ceremonies. This versatile plant is also used to thatch the roofs of Hawaiian houses, and play an important role in the Hawaiian sport of lava sledding. (Lava sledding????)

Ti plants grow to 13 feet tall and produce clusters of red berries. The beautiful cultivar shown below, Cordyline fruticosa ‘exotica,’ is one of the many bred for colorful foliage and adored as an ornamental plant.

You’ll find Cordyline in the surfers’ retreat created by Burke Brothers Landscape Design/Build, as well as Pele’s Garden and many other exhibits. For more information about the awesome Flower Show exhibitors, get the new Flower Show app.

Closeup of foliage of Cordyline fruticosa 'exotica'

One of the many ornamental cultivars of Cordyline fruticosa, the ti plant

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