• synonyms


  1. any plant of the New Zealand bulbous genus Phormium, with leathery evergreen leaves and red or yellow flowers in panicles
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Word Origin

New Latin, from Greek phormos a basket (from a use for the fibres)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Examples from the Web for phormium

Historical Examples

  • It contains a Phormium tenax that I wouldn't lose on any account.

    Major Vigoureux

    A. T. Quiller-Couch

  • New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax), a kind of marsh hemp, yields a fibre used in making cordage.

    Commercial Geography

    Jacques W. Redway

  • The slave girls stick unthreshed slips of the Phormium tenax in their skirts, thus giving immoderate fulness to their bodies.

    The Human Race

    Louis Figuier

  • The robes of New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax), and especially the feather robes, evince their aptitude and taste.

  • The more important fibres of this class are manila, sisal, phormium.