Posts categorized as Plants

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 »

A new fern, Lastreopsis kermadecensis

The newly described Lastreopsis kermadecensis, from Raoul Island in the Kermadecs.  Photo by and courtesy of Peter de Lange.

Te Papa Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey and I have just described a new species of fern, Lastreopsis kermadecensis.  It only occurs on Raoul Island, which is the largest island in the Kermadec Islands group.  Hence, the second part of the new species name! The Kermadec Islands are the most northern part of the New Zealand… Read more »

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 »

Plant communities of Titi Island, Marlborough Sounds

  • Windswept scrub of mountain flax, five finger, akiraho and fierce lancewood on a north facing clifftop. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa.
  • Cook’s scurvy grass. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa.
  • Cook’s scurvy grass. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa.
  • Juvenile fierce lancewood in dry ridge forest. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa.

Titi Island is a 32 hectare slab of schistose tuff and sandstone tilted upwards towards the north, with a moderately steep forested slope opening up to a breathtaking façade of high cliffs overlooking Cook Strait. Shearwater surveys on the island in January provided an opportunity to record local plant communities. A summary of the vegetation… Read more »

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.
  • Pinus pinea canopy_1026px

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 »