There are five species of Toetoe in New Zealand. All species stand out due to the white or cream cream coloured plumes which can be as high as 3 metres (10 feet). They are the largest native grass species in the country.
Related to Pampas Grass of South America, they are often confused due to the South American species being introduced to New Zealand.
The Maori used the toetoe leaves to make mats, baskets, and wall and roof coverings. Medicinal uses included treatment for kidney problems, diarrhea, and burns. The seed heads were used for wounds to help stop bleeding.