Posts categorized as Plants

A new tree fern

The newly recognised Dicksonia lanata subsp. hispida. Fairly common in the northern North Island, usually in kauri forests. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

New Zealand has a new tree fern – kind of. Te Papa Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey and I have recently recognised a subspecies within the stumpy tree fern, tuokura, Dicksonia lanata.  The new name is Dicksonia lanata subspecies hispida.  It is only kind of a new tree fern, as it was first recognised as something different… Read more »

Rongoā Māori | Māori Medicine Part 2

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Tēnā ano tātou – thank you for all of your support for last week’s blog! It is such an extraordinary privilege working with our Kaumatua and Kuia and sharing their kōrero with you. Feeding back the response from all the readers is ‘icing on the cake’. Here is our next instalment by our Kuia, Rihia Kenny, about… Read more »

New Zealand’s second nicest-smelling flowers now in bloom!

A cluster of lemonwood flowers. Photo: Lara Shepherd

Have you noticed a strong sweet smell while walking past any trees lately? You might be smelling the flowers of lemonwood/tarata (Pittosporum eugenioides). This native New Zealand tree is better known for its lemon-scented leaves than its flowers, which are small and pale. However, the flowers produce an almost overpowering honey-like fragrance when they bloom… Read more »

Earlier this year we welcomed Ngāti Toa Rangatira into Te Papa to fill our iwi gallery and to be our iwi in residence for two and a half years. Together with iwi leadership from Ngāti Toa and Te Papa, the exhibition ‘Whiti Te Rā! The Story of Ngāti Toa Rangatira’, and a host of events have been created for you… Read more »

Help hunt for kakabeak

Kakabeak (kowhai ngutu-kākā, Clianthus maximus) in cultivation in Wellington. Photo © Leon Perrie.

If you’re on the east coast of the North Island during this spring and summer, the Department of Conservation would like your help! Please look out for wild plants of the striking, red-flowered kakabeak. Department of Conservation’s blog post “Keep an eye out for kakabeak”. Kakabeak (kowhai ngutu-kākā, Clianthus maximus) is now Critically Endangered. Its… Read more »

The Great Kereru Count 2014 – 22nd September to 5th October

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This blog was written by Mel Dash, who is currently on maternity leave from Te Papa Kererū (New Zealand’s native wood pigeon) are making a comeback but they still need our help so Forest and Bird’s Kiwi Conservation Club (KCC), Kereru Discovery and partners have organised a two week Kererū Count to get an idea… Read more »

Subtropical tree fern challenge

  • 1 C. Reproductive structures of Cyathea milnei, from the Kermadec Islands, in cultivation at Otari-Wilton’s Bush, Wellington. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • 1 B. Cyathea milnei, from the Kermadec Islands, in cultivation at Otari-Wilton’s Bush, Wellington. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • 1 A. Cyathea milnei, from the Kermadec Islands, in cultivation at Otari-Wilton’s Bush, Wellington. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • 2 A. Cyathea kermadecensis, from the Kermadec Islands, in cultivation at Otari-Wilton’s Bush, Wellington. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

I spent yesterday afternoon in the fernery of Otari-Wilton’s Bush, examining two tree fern species from New Zealand’s subtropical Kermadec Islands. More details below, including ‘why?’. But first, a challenge… Each of these Kermadec tree ferns is closely related to a (different) mainland New Zealand species. Can you tell which mainland species? One of the… Read more »

Charles Darwin was unimpressed with the south coast of Western Australia when he visited in March 1836 calling it ‘dull and uninteresting’. If, however, he had visited during the spring wildflower season its likely he would have come to the opposite conclusion. These days botanically-inclined tourists, such as myself, flock to southwestern Australia during wildflower season…. Read more »

Doodia rasp ferns become Blechnum hard ferns

  • Blechnum neglectum, previously Pteridoblechnum neglectum, found only in north-eastern Australia. Right: Blechnum diversifolium, from New Caledonia. Blechnum diversifolium is more closely related to the species previously placed in Pteridoblechnum than it is to most species of Blechnum. Photos Leon Perrie. Composite © Te Papa.
  • Blechnaceae ferns are common in several parts of the world. For instance, all New Zealanders will be familiar with kiokio and its relatives in the genus Blechnum, colloquially known as “hard ferns” because of their coriaceous fronds.  Kiokio (Blechnum novae-zelandiae) is a common sight on road cuttings, amongst other habitats, and occurs throughout the country. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Left: rasp fern, Blechnum parrisiae, previously called Doodia australis, occurs in both Australia and New Zealand. Right: Blechnum gibbum, from New Caledonia. Blechnum gibbum is more closely related to the species formerly placed in Doodia than it is to most species of Blechnum. Photos Leon Perrie. Composite © Te Papa.
  • Blechnum orientale, in Fiji. Most species of Blechnum in New Zealand are “dimorphic”, with obviously different fertile and sterile fronds. (The exception is Blechnum fraseri, which is only partially dimorphic.) However, many overseas Blechnum are “monomorphic” like Blechnum orientale, which is widespread in the tropics from Asia through Australia to the Pacific.  Photo Leon Perrie. (c) Te Papa.

A key principle in the scientific classification of animals, plants, and other living things is that the system of scientific names reflects their relationships. This is because there is only a single evolutionary history, and it provides an objective basis by which to name life. As we learn more about these evolutionary relationships, scientific names… Read more »

Colossal New Addition to Te Papa’s Scientific Collections

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  • Jar and pail storage at Te Papa's collections facility. Photo: Rick Webber, Copyright Te Papa.
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Today we’ve been hearing about the most recent addition to Te Papa’s scientific collections, a new colossal squid Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni. We’re playing host to a dozen or so media representatives as well as our own live-streaming film crew, who are following intently the activity of five visiting squid scientists from AUT, led by Dr Kat… Read more »