Posts categorized as Plants

Going (Lady) Gaga over ferns

The rock fern, Cheilanthes sieberi, a New Zealand relative of the newly re-named Gaga ferns. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

USA fern taxonomists have created a minor stir after re-classifying a group of central American ferns into a new genus named Gaga, after the singer Lady Gaga. Abstract of the article formally naming the new genus Gaga. Youtube video of the taxonomists discussing their research. The researchers say the naming for Lady Gaga was in… Read more »

Unravelling the secrets of a 200-year-old European Orchid collection

  • Orchis conopsea L. collected near Gottingen (Germany) in 1768. Photo CA Lehnebach, © Te Papa.
  • Orchis alata collected in France, 1st May 1867. Photo CA Lehnebach, © Te Papa.
  • Close up to one of the newspapers used to separate and store the specimens.
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Te Papa’s collection of pressed, dried plant specimens includes samples of native and exotic species collected in New Zealand and other parts of the world. Many of the foreign specimens currently in the collection were brought into New Zealand in the late 1870s to be used as reference material and to assist with the identification of… Read more »

Going International, Part II – What caught my eye at two recent botany meetings

Heidi Meudt on the botanical field trip to the "Mainzer Sand", at the “Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology" meeting, the 21st International Symposium of the German Botanical Society (DBG) , Sept. 2012. I am kneeling just behind the European plant species Veronica spicata. Photo by Aaron Liston.

Here are just a few of the many highlights from the two international botany conferences I recently attended: Botany 2012 (Columbus, OH, USA) and  Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology 2012 (German Botanical Society 21st International Symposium, Mainz, Germany). Plant identification goes visual, interactive and mobile Plant identification keys are useful when you want to identify an… Read more »

Going International

This is a recent photo of me (Heidi Meudt) taken here in Oldenburg. I will sign off in German by saying: Auf wiedersehen, bis bald! Photo by Mauricio Lopez.

Back in July, I attended the 2012 Botany Conference, which was held in Columbus, OH, USA, and later this month, I will attend the “Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology” meeting of the German Botanical Society (DBG) in Mainz, Germany.  Why so much international travel, you may ask, and why is it important to Te Papa and… Read more »

Rare forget-me-nots discovered in the mountains of the South Island

Habitat and plant of Chaffey's forget-me-not. Photo by CA Lehnebach, @ Te Papa

Today, two rare species of forget-me-nots have been added to the Flora of New Zealand. These new species were discovered during an expedition I led to Kahurangi National Park, one of the hotspot for forget-me-nots diversity in New Zealand. These new species, Myosotis chaffeyorum (Chaffey’s Forget-me-not) and Myosotis mooreana (Moore’s forget-me-not) are described and illustrated in an article published today… Read more »

Orchid hunting in the Rimutaka Range

  • Orchid hunting in the Rimutaka (Emma Bodley, Anne Gaskett, Chau Phing Ong, Alastir Robertson & Carlos A. Lehnebach). Photo by Jonathan Frericks, © Jonathan Frericks.
  • Green hood orchid (Pterostylis alobula). Photo CA Lehnebach,  © Te Papa.
  • Pygmy orchid, piripiri (Ichthyostomum pygmaeum). Largest leaves are about 1 cm long! Photo CA Lehnebach,  © Te Papa.
  • Little moa orchid (Drymoanthus adversus). Photo by CA Lehnebach, © Te Papa.

When we think about about orchids we usually think about tropical islands or unexplored jungle-covered mountains in distant lands. This is not always the case, and many orchids are also found in temperate and cold regions of the world. Some orchids have even reached the Subantarctic islands where, not so long ago, two orchid species were discovered…. Read more »

Curiosities, world-firsts, and monsters – fern spotting in Wellington

  • A so-called monstrous or crested frond of hound’s tongue fern, Microsorum pustulatum. The lobes of the fronds of hound’s tongue fern do not normally fork at their apices. Photo © Leon Perrie.
  • First record of the hybrid between Polystichum neozelandicum and P. silvaticum. Photo © Leon Perrie.
  • The reproductive structures of Polystichum silvaticum are naked, lacking the shield-like protective coverings that characterise its relatives. Photo © Leon Perrie.
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On Saturday I joined the Wellington Botanical Society’s field trip to Wright Hill in Karori, Wellington. Wellington city would not be my first choice of locality for fern spotting, but we still found plenty to keep me interested. The filmy ferns Hymenophyllum flexuosum and Trichomanes endlicherianum are always pleasing finds. Although widespread, they are not… Read more »

Glowing wood and foxfire

I recently had an enquiry from someone who noticed during the middle of the night that their pile of split firewood was emitting a faint glow. What could cause this?! Apparently there are fungi that grow in rotting wood that can emit light through luminescence. The phenomenon is sometimes called “foxfire”. I’ve never noticed this… Read more »

Highlights from forget-me-not field trips from last summer

  • Here I am collecting Myosotis on a beautiful day on Coronet Peak, Otago, South Island.
  • Myosotis macrantha, near Queenstown, Otago, South Island (WELT SP091596). Photo by Phil Garnock-Jones.
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This year I went on several field trips to collect native forget-me-nots (genus Myosotis). With my research on native plantains now finished, my current research focus is now to figure out how many native species of forget-me-nots we have in New Zealand, revise their taxonomy, understand their evolutionary history, and amend their conservation status. Te… Read more »