Phormium tenax

The leaf of New Zealand flax ( a member of the Agavaceae). Leaves may grow up to 2-3 meters in length. The fibre bundles are situated over the vascular bundles but can also occur beneath the adaxial and abaxial epidermis, as hypodermal strands as is illustrated by the fibre bundle at the top right of the micrograph.

Flax was used in the past quite extensively for medicinal purposes. The sap, which is quite sticky, is said to be a mild disinfectant, as was the sap from the roots. It finds use today in the soap and cosmetic industry as well.

Move your mouse pointer over the large (left) and small (right) vascular bundles, to get more information and to connect to the relevant detail pages.

Click here to see a detail of this large vascular bundle. Click here to see a small vascular bundle.