Posts categorized as Plants

Our Far South: from shipwrecks to high seas

  • Heading south. Image WWF.
  • Adams Island in fog, Carnley Harbour. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa
  • Wreck of the Grafton. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Becalmed in Carnley Harbour. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa

I awoke to find that the boat had moved over night to the bottom end of the Auckland Islands, into Carnley harbour, with Adams island to our south. Adams island is home to Gibson’s wandering albatross – DNA research is currently being carried out to determine if Gibson’s Albatross is distinct from other wandering albatross species…. 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 »

New Botany Display in Nature Space – informing you about topical conservation issues.

New Display, Nature Space Discovery Centre, Level 2, Te Papa; Photo: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.

If you’ve visited Te Papa recently, and especially if you’ve brought children, you may have noticed some changes in the Nature Space Discovery Centre.  Part of this area was revamped in October to highlight the plight of wildlife affected by the RENA oil spill.  This month, I have been working with Melanie Dash, Nature Space Supervisor,… 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 »

Notes from a Eucalypt and Pine Identification Workshop

  • Part of our group gathers as Chris introduces a Eucalyptus species in the Wellington Botanical Gardens grounds. Photo: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
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  • The distinctive canopy shape of Pinus pinea. Photo: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
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In an effort to bolster our ability to identify some of New Zealand’s most widespread and commonly cultivated trees, Leon Perrie, Curator of Botany and I attended a workshop for identifying Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Pinus species this month. The workshop was presented by Chris Ecroyd, a long standing member of New Zealand’s botanical community who… Read more »

Exploring a Wellington South Coast Plant Community

  • Plagianthus divaricartus, cited as increasingly uncommon in the Wellington region.
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  • Hue tē Taka Peninsula viewed from the mainland side.
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Te Papa’s Botany team recently ventured to a Wellington City Council Reserve called Hue tē Taka Peninsula/Moa Point located on the south coast of Miramar Peninsula.  See a map of the area. Our aim is to compile a species list of the plant community, supported by vouchered specimens that will be stored in Te Papa’s… 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 »