Posts categorized as Plants

Snares Islands Flora: the ferns

  • Catchments sloping to the east on North East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • Bare substrate and titi / mutton bird burrows in Olearia lyallii forest, a common site on North East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa
  • Underside of Asplenium scleroprium frond showing sori extending to lamina margins. Above Hoho Stream, North East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa
  • Asplenium scleroprium, above Hoho Stream, North East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa

There are currently five recognised species of fern on the Snares Islands, the closest sub-antarctic island group to New Zealand. North East Island, the main island of the Snares group, slopes gently downhill from the tall, tussock covered western cliffs towards the forested east coast, creating four small catchments, which drain into Boat Harbour and Hoho Bay.  This combination… Read more »

The fascinating flora of Mount Owen, north-west Nelson.

Aciphylla ferox (fierce speargrass) growing out of a marble fissure on the flanks of Mount Owen. Photo: Lara Shepherd.

Over the holidays I was fortunate to spend a few days botanising the Marino Mountains, including Mount Owen, in north-west Nelson’s Kahurangi National Park.  Kahurangi National Park  is one of the most botanically interesting regions in New Zealand. Nearly half of New Zealand’s native plant species and 80% of our alpine species are found there…. Read more »

Subantarctic forget-me-not adventures

  • Sealion pups at Sandy Bay, Enderby Island. Photo by Jessie Prebble
  • Yellow-eyed penguin showing us the track on Enderby Island. Photo by Jessie Prebble
  • Fields of Bulbinella rossii on Enderby Island. Photo by Jessie Prebble
  • Myosotis antarctica on Mt Azimuth, Campbell Island. Definitely not a mega-herb! Photo by Jessie Prebble

From the 23rd-30th of December 2013 I was given the opportunity to join Rodney Russ and his team at Heritage Expeditions on board the Spirit of Enderby for a week long adventure to the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands. Link to the Heritage Expeditions website with information about their scholarship The Heritage Expedition Trust awards several… Read more »

Snares Islands Flora: an introduction

  • Olearia lyallii. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • Stilbocarpa robusta. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • Stellaria media, Gull Point, Boat Harbour, North East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa
  • Stellaria decipiens. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa

The vascular flora of the Snares Islands is limited, at only 22 species (including one hybrid Poa).  Despite this, my first impression of the main island was an island covered with lush vegetation.  And there are still some botanical challenges – we failed to locate the fern Histiopteris incisa for instance.  Vegetation communities on the Snares… Read more »

Newly described fern named after Te Papa curator

An unfurling frond of a Dicksonia perriei, Mt Panie, New Caledonia. Photo: Leon Perrie

A new species of tree fern has recently been named after Te Papa botany curator and fern expert Leon Perrie. The fern, Dicksonia perriei, occurs only in New Caledonia mostly on acidic soils at altitudes above 1000m, in areas of high rainfall. The new species is related to the three other New Caledonia Dicksonia species and to the… Read more »

Recognition for Te Papa plant researcher

Phil Garnock-Jones, 2013 winner of the Nancy Burbidge medal in Australasian systematic botany.

Congratulations to Phil Garnock-Jones on being awarded the Nancy Burbidge medal, for his longstanding and significant contribution to Australasian systematic botany. Phil is the first New Zealander to receive the award, which is the highest bestowed by the Australasian Systematic Botany Society. Systematic botany is the study of the relationships, naming, and classification of plants. Australasian Systematic… Read more »

Seaweed, seaweed everywhere and not a plant to eat

What type of crab is this?

Like many Kiwis, to me there are only three types of seaweed: Seaweed Beachus – seaweed washed up at the beach; Seaweed Sushius – seaweed used in sushi; and Seaweed Fish Linius – seaweed that your fishing line gets tangled in. But that terrible seaweed joke, aside from demonstrating my woeful ignorance of seaweed, doesn’t… Read more »

Moss, liverwort, and lichen Workshop

  • Te Papa Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey collecting a moss near National Park.   The collected material is stored in an envelope folded from a sheet of A4 paper; each collection goes into a separate envelope. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • A so-called leafy liverwort, Lepidolaena.  Most liverworts, and many mosses, are usually found in damp, shaded habitats; I’ve taken this one to a sunny spot for a better photograph.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • A crustose lichen, semi-embedded in the surface of a rock, high on Mount Ruapehu.  The black patches at left are the moss Andreaea, an alpine specialist.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Dicranoloma mosses are one of the forest-dominants in New Zealand.  They are not big (although they are quite big for a moss), but they are very common.  This is Dicranoloma menziesii.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Nearly 50 people are attending this year’s John Child Bryophyte and Lichen Workshop in Ohakune.  Bryophytes include mosses and liverworts.  The Workshop is a focussed opportunity to study these small plants.  Although usually overlooked, they actually make a huge contribution to forest biomass and functioning.  Mosses and liverworts reproduce by spores, as do ferns.  Spores… Read more »