06/03/2011 by Sarah Ritchie
As a child I tried to bring a head of toetoe (a Maori word, roughly pronounced toy-toy) into the house. I only attempted it once, mind you. I was quickly scurried outside with an admonition that the toetoe would “drop its bits all over the house”. Not sure how the toetoe would make its way “all over the house”, but I conceded to my mother’s superior wisdom. Yes, toetoe is a “bits dropping” plant, but what a beautiful plant it is.
The toetoe (C. toetoe, C. fulvida, C. splendens and C. richardii) are all native New Zealand grasses (closely related, though slightly different to the South American Pampas grass – the difference being that the toetoe has a drooping head).
This is the time of the year to observe the tall, stately, fluffy heads of the toetoe, gently swaying in the breeze along rural roads and lining water areas.
Some consider the plant a pest. Some – like me – make sure to keep it out of the garden and yet still admire the glorious grassy plumes from afar.