Posts written by Leon Perrie

Plant Hunt at Hokio, Levin

Ophioglossum coriaceum. Adams, Nancy. Purchased 2006. © Te Papa.

Te Papa Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey was recently contacted about a population near Levin of the very rare Ophioglossum petiolatum. Ophioglossum are odd looking ferns, as befits a common name of “adder’s tongue ferns”.  We don’t have a picture of O. petiolatum (stalked adder’s tongue fern), but the related O. coriaceum is similar; O. petiolatum… Read more »

Poo moss

Tayloria moss, near Riverton.  Photo Leon Perrie, (c) Te Papa.

Tayloria mosses belong to the wonderfully named Splachnaceae family, and grow on dung and carcasses! Such substrates are unusual for mosses, and Tayloria has several adaptations for its specialist life-style.  Mosses reproduce by spores, which in most cases are dispersed by the wind, and may or may not land in a suitable place for the… Read more »

Rare success – rediscovery of several bryophyte species

The moss Dicranoweisia spenceri on a branch of a beech tree, Tongariro area.  Photo Leon Perrie, © Te Papa.

Te Papa’s botanists made several significant finds during their explorations accompanying the recent Bryophyte and Lichen Workshop. Led by Research Associate Peter Beveridge and Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey, the moss Dicranoweisia spenceri was found in some abundance at the site we investigated within Tongariro National Park.  This is great news because this is only the… Read more »

How Te Papa contributes to plant conservation

A specimen of the moss Dicranoweisia spenceri in Te Papa’s collection. This species has a conservation ranking of “Data deficient”; that is, not enough is known about its occurrence to classify the level of threat it faces. © Te Papa.

In the next two weeks, some of Te Papa’s Botany staff will be looking for several poorly known mosses and liverworts. For instance, the moss Dicranoweisia spenceri was recorded more than 60 years ago from near Mount Ruapehu but it hasn’t been reported from there since – is it still there? We’re going to check…. Read more »

Forest icing sugar – Clematis

Close up of a male flower of Clematis paniculata.  Copyright Leon Perrie.

Many New Zealand forests are sprinkled with white at this time of the year. The indigenous Clematis are flowering, and particularly striking with its large white flowers is Clematis paniculata (puawhananga, white clematis). There is a plant of Clematis paniculata flowering wonderfully at present in Te Papa’s Bush City, at the harbour-end of the upper… Read more »

Practical conservation

  • The Manawatu Botanical Society, plus neighbour, strategising beforehand. Photo Graham Pritchard.
  • Pseudopanax ferox & botsoccers
  • Viv McGlynn. Photo Graham Pritchard.
  • The juvenile leaves of the Taihape population are a comparatively dark colour. This might be unique to the population. Photo Leon Perrie.

I first got into studying biodiversity because I wanted New Zealand’s plants and animals to be looked after better.  New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity is not in great shape. A lot of my research at Te Papa – describing new species, distinguishing and mapping different species, and determining how populations and species are related to one another… Read more »

Up the volcano: Fiji ferns II

  • Mixed plantation of dalo (taro) and kava, Nabukelevu-ira.  Photo Leon Perrie, Te Papa.
  • Farewell from Nabukelevu-ira.  Photo Leon Perrie, Te Papa.
  • Matt von Konrat (right, Field Museum) indicates to Matt Renner that he has five great discoveries from the volcano climb.  Lars (behind) keeps the seat occupied.
  • A few of Matt Renner’s (Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney) collections from the summit. Photo Leon Perrie, Te Papa.

A highlight of our Fijian expedition was a trip to Kadavu, a medium-sized island south of Viti Levu.  Kadavu is a priority for Conservation International.  Four species of bird occur there and nowhere else in the world.  However, little is known of Kadavu’s bryophytes, lichens, and ferns, and it was our job to find out. While… Read more »

Ferning in Fiji

  • Maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris.  This is not native to Fiji but has become a common weed around many parts of Suva. Photo Leon Perrie, Te Papa.
  • A young frond of Blechnum milnei, a Fijian endemic that is closely related to New Zealand’s kiokio, Blechnum novae-zelandiae. Photo Leon Perrie, Te Papa.
  • A Hymenophyllum filmy fern competes for space with mosses and liverworts on a tree trunk in cloud forest on the Delainbukelevu volcano. Photo Leon Perrie, Te Papa.
  • Koru (unfurling frond) of a species of Pneumatopteris fern in Fiji.  Photo Leon Perrie, Te Papa.

I’m lucky to have escaped the end of the New Zealand winter with a work trip to Fiji. This was as part of a Conservation International-funded, international expedition. The trip was led by Matt von Konrat of Chicago’s Field Museum, with local logistics coordinated by Marika Tuiwawa and Alivereti Naikatini of the University of the… Read more »

Animal and plant collections

Te Papa’s Natural Environment team have revamped their webpages. You can access them here. Collection highlights online include: Big fish Medicinal ferns of the second Maori king Unique bird eggs and skeletons Colossal squid Plants collected during Captain Cook’s first expedition GV Hudson insect collection Nests of extinct birds The following links will take you… Read more »

Plants cultivated by Māori

  • Southern Wairarapa karaka grove. © Leon Perrie.
  • Southern Wairarapa whau. © Leon Perrie.
  • Arthropodium bifurcatum in a garden at Victoria University. © Leon Perrie.
  • Southern Wairarapa rengarenga. © Leon Perrie.

Alongside the plants brought from the tropical Pacific, it is thought that Māori cultivated at least a handful of New Zealand plant species. Massey University’s Lara Shepherd is investigating several such plants: karaka (Corynocarpus laevigatus), rengarenga (Arthropodium cirratum), and whau (Entelea arborescens). Karaka in Te Papa’s Bush City. Karaka, rengarenga, and whau are all only found… Read more »