Posts categorized as Plants

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 »

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 »