|A tui bird on a stalk of P. tenax flowers.|
The plant grows as a clump of long, straplike leaves up to two meters long. It grows a much taller flowering shoot, with dramatic yellow or red flowers.
The jumping spider Trite planiceps lives in the rolled-up leaves of this species. Phormium tenax grows on the coast where it is important in the breeding habitat for the endangered Yellow-eyed Penguin.
- 'Bronze Baby' - arching bronze leaves, 2-to-3-foot (0.61 to 0.91 m) plant.
- 'Dazzler' - arching leaves that are bronze-maroon with red and pink stripes, plant reaches 3 feet in height.
- 'Sundowner' - 6-foot-tall (1.8 m) plant, leaves are striped with bronze, green and rose-pink.
- Roger Holmes and Lance Walheim. 2005. California Home Landscaping, Creative Homeowner Press ISBN 9781580112543
- "Our Flax for the Navy - NZETC". nzetc.victoria.ac.nz.
- "Ecology of Phormium tenax". issg.org. 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- C. Michael Hogan 2009. Yellow-eyed Penguin: Megadypes antipodes, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. N. Stromberg
- Frances Tenenbaum. 2003. Taylor's Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0618226443
- "New Zealand flax". bbc.co.uk. 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- James Hector 1889. Phormium tenax as a fibrous plant. 2nd ed, Geological Survey Dept, New Zealand. G. Didsbury, Government Printer, 95 pages.