Posts written by Leon Perrie

Baby ferns

Baby ferns. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Leon Perrie, Wellington.

A spot in my garden is being colonised by baby ferns. The toppling of a gum tree last year created bare ground. After a few months, this has now been smothered by little ferns, the biggest only a few cm long. Baby ferns are difficult to identify, but I suspect these are water fern (Histiopteris… Read more »

Hybrid hunt turns up more weedy natives

Meryta sinclairii, puka.  Self-sown saplings near Porirua.  Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Te Papa.

I was out last week with Tim Park from the regional council looking for Pseudopanax hybrids between lancewood and coastal five-finger near Porirua.    Coastal five-finger and the hybrids are weeds in the Wellington region. Previous post on lancewood and coastal five-finger hybridisation. We spotted a couple of other weedy natives – New Zealand species that… Read more »

King of ferns

  • Angiopteris evecta, Sydney Botanic Gardens. Photo by Leon Perrie.
  • Bracts at the base of the fronds of king fern. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Leon Perrie.
  • Reproductive structures of king fern, on undersides of fronds. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Leon Perrie.
  • King Fern Gully, Pukekura Park. Photo by Leon Perrie.

I was recently in New Plymouth, where I took the opportunity to visit Pukekura Park. Aside from its lovely cricket ground, the Park is of course notable for its plants. Pukekura Park website. One of the botanical highlights for me was king fern, probably best seen at the Park in the appropriately named King Fern… Read more »

Talking Australian Plants

  • Grevellia acanthifolia. Beautiful.
  • A Stylidium trigger-plant.
  • The parasitic orchid Dipodium.
  • This rare Gingidia species occurs near Armidale. The genus, a member of the carrot family, is otherwise confined to New Zealand.

I’m just back from the Australian Systematic Botany Society’s conference, followed by three days working in the herbarium of Sydney’s Botanic Gardens. Conference.  The conference involved three days of talks about the evolution and taxonomy of plants. I presented our recent work on the hen & chickens ferns. I found the response interesting, including several… Read more »

Splendid moss

Hylocomium_splendens

Many interesting finds were made during the recent John Child Bryophyte Workshop, including the moss Hylocomium splendens (the “Stair-step Moss”). Landcare Research’s Allan Fife, a moss expert who identified this species, writes: “This species is found through much of the temperate northern hemisphere, but it is known from the temperate southern hemisphere only from a few… Read more »

A close look at little plants – mosses, liverworts, & lichens

  • The silver-tipped Campylopus introflexus is one of my favourite mosses. Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. (c) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • The silvery-tipped Campylopus introflexus is one of my favourite mosses.  Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. (c) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Display table in the microscope work-room, with specimens named to help beginners.  Photo by Terry Evans.  (c) Terry Evans, Auckland.
  • Identifying the day's collections with the aid of microscopes and books.  Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. (c) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

I’m just back from the John Child Bryophyte Workshop for 2009, which I helped organise (along with Massey University’s Lara Shepherd and Jill Rapson). The Bryophyte Workshop studies mosses, liverworts, and hornworts, as well as lichens. Although often overlooked because of their small size, these plants are significant biodiversity and biomass components of many habitats…. Read more »

Public talk on Pseudopanax

Five finger, whauwhaupaku, Pseudopanax arboreus.  Photo by Leon Perrie. (c) Leon Perrie, Wellington.

I’ll be joining Lara Shepherd (Allan Wilson Centre, Massey University) to give a talk on Pseudopanax Monday night (21 September 2009) in Wellington. We’ll begin by discussing each of the species: how to identify them and where to see them.  Then we’ll cover the results of our research projects that have looked at hybridisation between… Read more »

Desert ferns

  • Typical vegetation along the Larapinta Trail. Most of the green trees are gums. The grey trees are wattles. The low-growing clumps are ‘spinifex’ grasses. Photo by Leon Perrie. (c) Leon Perrie, Wellington.
  • Typical vegetation along the Larapinta Trail. Most of the green trees are gums. The grey trees are wattles. The low-growing clumps are ‘spinifex’ grasses. Photo by Leon Perrie. (c) Leon Perrie, Wellington.
  • Shaking Brake fern, Pteris tremula. Photo by Leon Perrie. (c) Leon Perrie, Wellington.
  • Marsilea ferns look like four-leaved clovers, and are principally aquatic. This one was in a watercourse that had dried up. Photo by Leon Perrie. (c) Leon Perrie, Wellington.

I’m just back from holiday in central Australia, near Alice Springs. Even though it was holiday, I was still plant-spotting. (I could hardly walk around with my eyes closed, could I?) There’s ferns even in the desert. Strictly speaking, it’s apparently an “arid” region, rather than desert. In any case, it was dry. But there were… Read more »

Pohutukawa flowering – is it Christmas already?

Pohutukawa on Wellington’s waterfront, 20 June 2009. It is still in flower, over a month later. Image by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

No, it is not Christmas already. (Fortunately the year hasn’t passed by that quickly.) But this pohutukawa on Wellington’s waterfront, opposite Frank Kitts Park, seems to think so. It has been spluttering into flower over the last few weeks. The pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) is New Zealand’s ‘Christmas tree’, its bursting display of red flowers signalling… Read more »

DNA-fingerprinting fierce lancewood

  • The four principal genetic groups detected by microsatellite DNA-fingerprinting in fierce lancewood are indicated by different colours. The small grey circles are populations that we haven’t sampled, but which are represented by specimens in the herbarium collections of Te Papa, Auckland Museum, and Landcare Research.
  • The four principal genetic groups detected by microsatellite DNA-fingerprinting in fierce lancewood are indicated by different colours. The small grey circles are populations that we haven’t sampled, but which are represented by specimens in the herbarium collections of Te Papa, Auckland Museum, and Landcare Research.
  • The four principal genetic groups detected by microsatellite DNA-fingerprinting in fierce lancewood are indicated by different colours. The small grey circles are populations that we haven’t sampled, but which are represented by specimens in the herbarium collections of Te Papa, Auckland Museum, and Landcare Research.
  • At each different kind of microsatellite, each individual has two copies, one inherited from its mother and the other from its father. The two copies in an individual can be the same or different lengths. This is a figure of one particular kind of microsatellite for two individuals. In the upper individual, the two copies are of different lengths: length 129, which is quite uncommon, and length 135 which is common and widespread. In the lower individual, the two copies are both of length 135, which is why there is only one large peak.

Aside from ferns, my main research interest is the group of trees known as Pseudopanax, for which I collaborate with Lara Shepherd from the Allan Wilson Centre. Blog posts on ferns Blog posts on Pseudopanax Pseudopanax includes the lancewoods and five-fingers. Several of the species are popular in cultivation, including fierce lancewood (Pseudopanax ferox). This… Read more »