Highlights from forget-me-not field trips from last summer

This year I went on several field trips to collect native forget-me-nots (genus Myosotis). With my research on native plantains now finished, my current research focus is now to figure out how many native species of forget-me-nots we have in New Zealand, revise their taxonomy, understand their evolutionary history, and amend their conservation status. Te Papa colleagues Jessie Prebble (see one of her blogs here) and Carlos Lehnebach are also collaborating on this project.

Field work (such as this trip to Taranaki in Nov 2011) is a key component of this work. And with wintry weather now keeping this botanist (and perhaps many of you!) mostly indoors, it’s the perfect time to put up a few photos and show you some of the highlights from these trips.

Chalk Range, Marlborough, South Island, Nov 2011.

 With the collaboration of Department of Conservation botanists Jan Clayton-Greene and Cathy Jones, we found several different forget-me-not entities on the Chalk Range, including this one, which has been given the tag-name Myosotis aff. australis “white”.

Habitat of Myosotis aff. australis "white" in the Chalk Range, Marlborough, South Island (WELT SP090551). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Habitat of Myosotis aff. australis “white” in the Chalk Range, Marlborough, South Island (WELT SP090551). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Flowers of Myosotis aff. australis "white" from the Chalk Range, Marlborough, South Island (WELT SP090551). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Flowers of Myosotis aff. australis “white” from the Chalk Range, Marlborough, South Island (WELT SP090551). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

 

Myosotis aff. australis "white" in the Chalk Range, Marlborough, South Island (WELT SP090551). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Myosotis aff. australis “white” in the Chalk Range, Marlborough, South Island (WELT SP090551). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Inland Hawkes Bay ranges, Dec 2011.

On this trip, I teamed up with Jessie Prebble, Mike Thorsen, and several landowners to search for forget-me-nots that had been previously collected in this area. Although we didn’t find all the ones we were hoping for, we did find some big populations of Myosotis spathulata, shown here.

Habitat of Myosotis spathulata, Hukanui Station, Hawke's Bay, North Island (WELT SP090628). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Habitat of Myosotis spathulata, Hukanui Station, Hawke’s Bay, North Island (WELT SP090628). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Flower of Myosotis spathulata, Hukanui Station, Hawke's Bay, North Island (WELT SP090628). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Flower of Myosotis spathulata, Hukanui Station, Hawke’s Bay, North Island (WELT SP090628). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Myosotis spathulata, Hukanui Station, Hawke's Bay, North Island (WELT SP090628). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Myosotis spathulata, Hukanui Station, Hawke’s Bay, North Island (WELT SP090628). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Queenstown area, Otago, South Island, Feb 2012.

For this trip, Phil Garnock-Jones and local botanist Neill Simpson accompanied me on yet another forget-me-not field trip (we were also collecting speedwell hebes on this trip, which you can read about here). As you can see from all the photos on this page, the morphological diversity of the different species of forget-me-nots is truly astounding!

Myosotis pulvinaris, Shotover Saddle, Otago, South Island (WELT SP091594/A). This cushion plant was just past flowering. Just imagine what it would have looked like covered with flowers! Photo by Phil Garnock-Jones.

Myosotis pulvinaris, Shotover Saddle, Otago, South Island (WELT SP091594/A). This cushion plant was just past flowering. Just imagine what it would have looked like covered with flowers! Photo by Phil Garnock-Jones.

Myosotis macrantha, near Queenstown, Otago, South Island (WELT SP091596). Photo by Phil Garnock-Jones.

Myosotis macrantha, near Queenstown, Otago, South Island (WELT SP091596). Photo by Phil Garnock-Jones.

Here I am collecting Myosotis on a beautiful day on Coronet Peak, Otago, South Island.

Here I am collecting Myosotis on a beautiful day on Coronet Peak, Otago, South Island.

Next month I’ll be giving a talk at the Botany 2012 Conference on some of our recent forget-me-not research. I’ll show our latest results using DNA sequencing and DNA fingerprinting to look at how the different species of New Zealand Myosotis are related to one another. You can see the abstract here.

See some of Te Papa’s Myosotis collection here.

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