Posts categorized as Plants

What can kōwhai tell us about the location of New Zealand’s forests during the ice ages?

  • A flower-laded large-leaved kōwhai (Sophora tetraptera) from the Wairarapa. Photo: Leon Perrie
  • A flower-laded large-leaved kōwhai (Sophora tetraptera) from the Wairarapa.
  • Collecting genetic samples from prostrate kōwhai (Sophora prostrata) on the POrt Hills. This species is restricted to the eastern South Island and has zig-zag branches with small leaves and flowers. Photo: Leon Perrie.
  • Collecting genetic samples from prostrate kōwhai (Sophora prostrata) on the POrt Hills. This species is restricted to the eastern South Island and has zig-zag branches with small leaves and flowers. Photo: Leon Perrie.

Science researcher Lara Shepherd explores kōwhai trees, one of New Zealand’s most widely recognised native plants and our unofficial national flower. Did you realise that we actually have eight species of kōwhai in New Zealand? Our DNA research investigating the relationships of these kōwhai species and where kōwhai trees were located during the ice ages has… Read more »

Congratulations to Pat Brownsey who has just been awarded the New Zealand Journal of Botany annual prize for 2016. In even-numbered years, this prize is for “established researchers”. This is “awarded to a person who has made a sustained contribution to the journal during the last five years (regularly publishing and reviewing papers), and whose… Read more »

A new species of fern for New Zealand, Asplenium lepidotum

The abundance of scales on the upper surface of young fronds is a distinguishing feature for Asplenium lepidotum.  These scales appear as black dots.  Photo by Leon Perrie.  © Te Papa.

Finding and naming new species is a core part of the job for Te Papa’s scientists.  More than 2500 animal and plant species have been named by museum staff since 1865.  A recent example is the fern Asplenium lepidotum, described by myself and Pat Brownsey.  This brings the number of indigenous ferns and lycophytes in… Read more »

Botanic gardens: our outdoor museums and why they matter

Hobbits enjoying the hobbit hole at the Oldenburg Botanic Garden. Sept 2016. Photo by Heidi Meudt.

My name is Heidi Meudt and I’m a Research Scientist in Botany at Te Papa, currently doing taxonomic research on New Zealand’s native forget-me-nots. As part of my job, I attend scientific conferences in New Zealand and overseas. Over the course of my botany travels during September, I’ve managed to visit five botanic gardens in three different… Read more »

Local botanist awarded the Allan Mere

Aciphylla lecomtei J.W.Dawson, collected 05 Mar 1978, Hector Mts., New Zealand. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (SP065502)

Retired Wellington botanist Dr John Dawson was presented the Allan Mere today. This award, administered by the New Zealand Botanical Society, recognises botanists who have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand botany. John’s research as an academic at Victoria University of Wellington focused on the plant families Apiaceae (carrot family) and Myrtaceae (myrtle family). John wrote… Read more »

Botany travels: representing New Zealand around the world

Group photo at the International Boraginales Conference, just outside the Nees Institute, University of Bonn, Germany, where it was held. Sept 2016.

My name is Heidi Meudt and I’m a Research Scientist in Botany at Te Papa, currently doing taxonomic research on New Zealand’s native forget-me-nots. As part of my job, I occasionally attend scientific conferences in New Zealand and overseas. I’ve blogged before about some of the reasons that international conferences are important for those of us doing… Read more »

Fascinating forget-me-not pollen

myosotis-aff-pulvinaris-opt

Now that springtime is upon us in New Zealand, many plants are starting to flower, producing pollen. Many of us have a negative association with pollen due to its role in causing allergies [PDF, 172KB]. But not all pollen causes allergies, and pollen is of course extremely important to the biology and ecology of flowering plants. Some… Read more »