Bonking Grass

22nd Jan 2021

Bonking Grass

Regular readers will know that I am fascinated by the many and varied common names of plants and the stories and myths that surround them. One of the plants we sell, Selliera radicans, is known colloquially as Bonking Grass. 

This plant is native to New Zealand and I didn't know why it was known there as Bonking Grass but recently Geoff, a retired nurseryman from New Zealand, got in touch with the following information:

"Living in West Auckland I employed staff from around the western suburbs extending over the Waitakere Ranges (Auckland’s water supply area covered in native forest) to the West Coast beaches bordering the Tasman Sea, including Piha. It is the most populated suburb with rugged cliffs and black sandy beaches both of which are pounded by rough surf, making it a surfers destination.

High above one portion of the cliff called the ‘Blow Hole' there is a flattish area of land locally named the ‘Tennis Court’ because of the closely cropped coastal turf that grows there. One of the main components in the turf is Selliera radicans and it is the smooth cool texture of its foliage that makes the area so attractive for picnics and perhaps tennis. Of course such a private and remote site provides opportunities for more intimate activities, and the nick-name for Selliera became ‘Bonking Grass’. It is not a grass at all, but a flowering dicotyledon, as are most of the other species making up the coastal turf."

For further information about Bonking Grass, click here to view it in the shop.