The Aciphylla shrub in my garden is not the prickly variety. New Zealand Natives are not necessarily spiky and prickly - some of us are soft and rounded, and really friendly...

 Definitely the non-spiky variety!
My Acaphylla Flowering

New Zealand shrubs live in varied natural habitats - swamps, mountain gullies and ridges, alpine valleys, the Moosey Garden, and so on. Aciphyllas are generally found above the bushline in tussock and scrub. Actually, it's really best not to find them - well, not to get too close, and definitely not too personal. The spikes are dreadfully prickly. Don't ever think to grab one as a handhold, and never lose your balance near a mountain Aciphylla. Ouch!

 The seedheads are quite fragrant.
Aciphylla - Spaniard Grass

The flower heads are a pretty creamy yellow, with a sweet scent. This year flowers appeared for the first time on my Aciphylla, bought from a near-local nursery with the appealing label 'Non-Spiky'. Its foliage looks different than the Aciphyllas I've met in the bush, though the flowers seem very similar.

Sold In Scotland!

I giggled when I saw spiky Aciphyllas being sold in a Scottish nursery - I wouldn't let those anywhere near my garden. My back country experiences have taught me that these plants create panic, followed by wobbliness, in older hikers and wanderers who walk past them. Aargh!

Aciphylla in the Nursery

The common name for Aciphylla is Spaniard, or Spaniard grass, which in these politically correct days seems a little rude. I'm sure that not all Spaniards are spiky and prickly...