Posts categorized as Plants

Transit of Venus Botany

Today is the transit of Venus, when that planet passes in front of the sun. Hopefully the bad weather blanketing much of New Zealand doesn’t preclude at least some people from observing the event. Observing the transit was one of Captain Cook’s primary objectives for the Endeavour expedition, and this was done in Tahiti in… Read more »

West Coast Fern Fieldwork 2012, 1 – what we were doing

Gleichenia ferns often grow entangled with one another and with other plants; hence their common name of tangle ferns.  But our understanding of them is also in a tangle.  Two or three species are currently recognised in New Zealand, but I think there are at least five.  The picture is of a new species.  It looks similar to the others from above, but very different when viewed from below.  I hope to formally describe it in a year or so.  Then I will be able to show you the differences.  Our fieldwork significantly extended the known occurrences of this fern.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

I’m just back from 10 days collecting ferns in the South Island’s West Coast. From previous collections, we knew of several currently unrecognised species of fern that occur on the West Coast. We investigated these records, visiting the sites to collect more material for our studies and to assess the plants in the field, including… Read more »

Te Papa researcher’s major contribution to NZ biodiversity inventory

Te Papa taxonomists whos work was instrumental in describing over 80% of the animal groups for New Zealand

Te Papa scientists figure prominently among the 238 researchers who have contributed to a major new publication: The Inventory of New Zealand Biodiversity.  The third and final volume of this 12-year project was launched at Te Papa yesterday, and celebrated the work of scientists from 19 countries, cataloguing over 56,000 species. The work was brought… Read more »

More forget-me-not hunting

  • M. spathulata from Waipuna, Inland Hawke’s Bay. Photo by Heidi Meudt © Te Papa
  • Myosotis matthewsii. Photo Jessie Prebble, copyright Te Papa
  • The Myosotis hunting team at lunch time.  Photo Jessie Prebble copyright Te Papa
  • Nearly at the forest edge, overlooking the beautiful Mitimiti beach. From left to right: Fiona (DOC), Wayne, Anaru and Rongo (iwi). Photo Jessie Prebble © Te Papa

I have just started work on my PhD, based at Te Papa Tongarewa and enrolled at Massey University, Palmerston North. I am joining Heidi and Carlos in the Te Papa herbarium, working on our native forget-me-nots (genus Myosotis); you can read about some of the work already ongoing in older blogs posts: Go to Heidi’s… Read more »

What’s this mystery object?

What's this?

Two clues: it’s small, and has never been imaged before. Post any guesses below.  I’ll post the answer next week, if nobody has got it by then.

Common ferns

Hound's tongue fern, Microsorum pustulatum.

Would you like to learn to recognise some of New Zealand’s ferns? “Fernland” was an early colloquial name for New Zealand, so it’s almost patriotic to be able to recognise a few of the country’s ferns! I’ve put together notes and images for 13 common species, showing how to distinguish them and where you might find… Read more »

Talk: mapping NZ’s plants

Hooker’s spleenwort fern (Asplenium hookerianum) and its distribution in New Zealand based on specimens in Te Papa’s collection.

Next Tuesday night (27th March), I’m giving a talk at Wellington’s Otari Wilton’s Bush about how (and why) maps are generated from dried plant specimens in collections like those of Te Papa. I’ll also introduce some of the new internet tools that are making distribution information about New Zealand’s plants more readily available. Details: 7.30pm,… Read more »