Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

Thelymitra longifolia. Maikaika.
FAMILY: Orchidaceae Orchid family
BOTANICAL NAME: Thelymitra longifolia
PREVIOUS NAMES: Thelymitra forsteri (Taylor 1855)
MĀORI NAME: māikaika Kirk; māikaika Taylor 1855 says that māikaika is a common name for terrestrial orchids including this one.; māikuku Beever 1991
COMMON NAME: thelymitra; white sun orchid
FOOD: 'Small orchidaceous plant(s) found amongst fern and low tea tree. The tubers contain salep, and are eaten by the natives' (Kirk, in Taylor 1870). Use as food also recorded in Colenso 1869a. ('Salep' is the name for the ground-up tubers of orchids). The oval and rounded tubers can be eaten cooked or raw. The tubers are found in winter. Crowe (1990) describes the flavour as crisp and slightly bitter when raw, and like an insipid potato when boiled.