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Durvillaea poha facts for kids

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Durvillaea poha
Durvillaea poha in foreground (with D. willana below) at Brighton Beach, Otago
Scientific classification

Durvillaea poha is a large, robust species of southern bull kelp found in New Zealand.


The species was previously classified as the "cape" lineage of Durvillaea antarctica, but in 2012 it was recognised as a distinct species due to consistent genetic, morphological and ecological differences. In southern New Zealand, D. poha and D. antarctica can be found growing together, although D. poha normally grows higher up or further back on the rock platforms, or in more sheltered bays, where wave force is weaker. D. poha generally has wider fronds than D. antarctica, and can appear more 'orange' across the frond area.


The specific epithet is from pōhā, storage bags made by Māori out of kelp fronds.


The species has wide, air filled blades with a 'honeycomb' structure, and relative stout, pale or orange stipes. The stipes are unbranched.


The species is endemic to South Island of New Zealand, as well as the subantarctic Snares and Auckland Islands.

Human use

Māori culture

A pōhā covered with tōtara bark and inserted into a flax basket

Along with D. antarctica, blades of D. poha are used to make traditional pōhā bags, which are used to carry and store food and fresh water, to propagate live shellfish, and to make clothing and equipment for sports. Pōhā bags are especially associated with the Ngāi Tahu people, and are often used to carry and store muttonbird (tītī) chicks.

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