Fernwood HomePhormiums > Cultivar list > Cultivar

To Fernwood Home Page

Phormium ‘Tricolor’

06 Oct 2005

General information

Cultivar name:

Phormium ‘Tricolor’ (AGM)


Said to have been discovered in the late 1880's on the banks of the Wainuioru River by a Mr W. Summers.


L. J Metcalf, The Cultivation of New Zealand Trees and Shrubs, 271 [1972] as Phormium cookianum ‘Tricolor'. (See below)


Phormium cookianum subsp. hookeri


Leaf colour

Colour group:

Yellow variegated

Upper surface:

Green (137B) with creamy-yellow (11C) stripes clustered mainly towards the outer edges. The leaf margins have distinct red edges (59A) especially towards the base of the younger leaves.
1cm section

Lower surface:

Greyish-green (138B) with a dark midrib (200A) and red margins.(59A) The yellow stripes that are present on the upper surface are also present on the lower surface. Most leaves also have additional pale stripes that are not present on the upper surface.
1cm section


The red margins are most pronounced on the younger leaves.


Growth form

Shape group:


Leaf length:

< 80 cm

Leaf width:

< 6 cm


Young plants have rather short, widely spreading leaves but as the plant matures it develops long, graceful, arching leaves.

Flowers and fruit



Pictures (Click to enlarge)




Published descriptions


The drooping green leaves are variously striped towards the margins with creamy yellow, the central portion either side of the midrib usually being plain green. The margins are conspicuously red.


A broad plant to 4 feet tall with wide leaves that have a broad central green band surrounded by yellow stripes and red margins. A popular hybrid since it was produced in the 1950's. Stable.


Dark green leaves with creamy white edges. Becomes flushed pink with a burgundy edge in cooler weather. Leaves are rather stiff, moderately broad. To 3’. A P. cookianum selection.


Leaves edged creamy white, margined red. One of the hardiest & best of the Phormiums. It makes a vigorous clump with weeping overlapping leaves attaining a height of about 1m.


The cultivar of Phormium cookianum most often seen is ‘Tricolor’, with wide, broadly arching, green leaves bordered in soft yellow with bright rose-red margins. It grows to about four feet in height.


Back to Cultivar list >


Fernwood Home Page >



Guide to the contents of the Phormium cultivar data pages >
(This page will open in a new window. Close the window after viewing.)