Posts written by Leon Perrie

Curiosities, world-firsts, and monsters – fern spotting in Wellington

  • A so-called monstrous or crested frond of hound’s tongue fern, Microsorum pustulatum. The lobes of the fronds of hound’s tongue fern do not normally fork at their apices. Photo © Leon Perrie.
  • First record of the hybrid between Polystichum neozelandicum and P. silvaticum. Photo © Leon Perrie.
  • The reproductive structures of Polystichum silvaticum are naked, lacking the shield-like protective coverings that characterise its relatives. Photo © Leon Perrie.
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On Saturday I joined the Wellington Botanical Society’s field trip to Wright Hill in Karori, Wellington. Wellington city would not be my first choice of locality for fern spotting, but we still found plenty to keep me interested. The filmy ferns Hymenophyllum flexuosum and Trichomanes endlicherianum are always pleasing finds. Although widespread, they are not… Read more »

Glowing wood and foxfire

I recently had an enquiry from someone who noticed during the middle of the night that their pile of split firewood was emitting a faint glow. What could cause this?! Apparently there are fungi that grow in rotting wood that can emit light through luminescence. The phenomenon is sometimes called “foxfire”. I’ve never noticed this… Read more »

Te Papa’s snail expert awarded doctorate

Bruce Marshall. © Te Papa.

Congratulations to Bruce Marshall, Te Papa’s Collection Manager Molluscs, who was recently honoured with a Doctor of Science by Victoria University of Wellington. Molluscs are the group of animals that includes snails, slugs, shellfish, squids and octopuses. Doctor of Science degrees are awarded for exceptionally significant contributions to a field of science. Bruce has described… Read more »

Te Radar’s vegetable with charisma

Ota dina, Diplazium dietrichianum (or D. esculentum), Fiji.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Which vegetables do you think have charisma?  In Tuesday night’s television programme Radar Across The Pacific, comedian Te Radar was given “fiddle fern” to eat.  He seemed to be impressed by it, describing it as having charisma. Te Radar was eating the young, unfurling fronds of a fern.  These still-coiled fronds are variously called croziers… Read more »

West Coast Fern Fieldwork 2012, 4 – new, problematic, and interesting species

  • The cave spleenwort, Asplenium cimmeriorum, only occurs in limestone areas of the west coasts of both the North and South Islands. It is commonly found at cave entrances. We found a new sub-population in the Charleston Conservation Area. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • We found the lycophyte Lycopodiella cernua at a site near Haast, further south than the Okarito limit noted in the literature. Interestingly, this species also occurs in the tropics! Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
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  • Some authorities treat the small plants at lower right as a distinct species, swamp kiokio (Blechnum minus). Others regard them as part of a variable kiokio (Blechnum novae-zelandiae), big plants of which are at left. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Along with the Gleichenia and Sticherus, we were targeting a possible new species of Hymenophyllum filmy fern. We also made collections of several ‘problem’ species and other interesting finds. Cave spleenwort’s distribution based on Te Papa’s collections. Other blog posts about our West Coast fern fieldwork cover: What we were doing. Where we went. Sticherus… Read more »