Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: Toetoe

with 18 comments

Toetoe Grass Seed Head 6239

A tall and graceful native grass seen across New Zealand is toetoe, which as far as I can make out is properly pronounced in Māori like the English words toe-eh-toe-eh, but which has been Anglicized to toy-toy (and is sometimes therefore seen spelled toitoi). The relevant Wikipedia article says that there are five species, all of which botanists moved in 2011 from the genus Cortaderia (which includes Pampas grass) to the genus Austroderia.

I photographed this toetoe by a pond at Zealandia in Wellington on the overcast and sometimes drizzly morning of February 21st.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 8, 2015 at 5:20 AM

18 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. If only its English pronunciation resembled its spelling. Then you could have said to it, “Toetoe, I don’t believe we’re in Austin any more.”

    It’s a beautiful grass, and its plume is reminiscent of Pampas grass. Because of the rain, we’ve had many grasses here that got ahead of the mowers and developed beautifully, but none were quite this showy. The Texas native that comes to mind is Gulf Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris).


    July 8, 2015 at 5:53 AM

    • Here I go on another rant. New Zealand has its native toetoe (and more than one species, at that), but some New Zealanders insisted on importing Pampas grass, which the government now classifies as an invasive weed in several parts of the country. In keeping with Anglicized the pronunciation of toetoe, all I can say about that is Oy vey!

      It’s good to hear that some of the native grasses near the coast beat the mowers for once, and I’ll agree with you that the showiest native grass in Texas is Muhlenbergia capillaris.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 8, 2015 at 6:11 AM

    • By the way, some people think of the capital of Texas as Oz-tin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 8, 2015 at 9:03 AM

  2. Very nice. The Family change makes sense although I can see why it would have been lumped in with Pampas Grass.


    July 8, 2015 at 8:46 AM

  3. I am guilty of the toy-toy pronunciation.


    July 8, 2015 at 8:56 AM

  4. Tiptoe through the toetoe… well, maybe not 😉


    July 8, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    • Your hesitation is justified: tiptoeing through the toetoe might not leave it in tip-top shape.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 8, 2015 at 9:21 AM

  5. They are so typical of our landscape, in particular the coast line. Funny thing is, I don’t have that many photos of this grass. Though they do make for great photos.

    Raewyn's Photos

    July 8, 2015 at 4:01 PM

    • Then perhaps this picture can be an impetus for you to toy with the toetoe (photographically, that is).

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 8, 2015 at 4:10 PM

      • Very true. I have posted some old photos of Auckland today. Didn’t realise I had them after searching my archives.

        Raewyn's Photos

        July 8, 2015 at 4:11 PM

  6. Very nice contrast of texture, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    July 9, 2015 at 3:40 AM

    • I don’t remember ever photographing such grey water, which, as you say, served as an excellent contrast in color and form to the toetoe. Fortunately the light rain didn’t last long and I was able to keep taking pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 9, 2015 at 8:26 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: