Posts categorized as Plants

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 »

Te Radar’s vegetable with charisma

Ota dina, Diplazium dietrichianum (or D. esculentum), Fiji.  Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Which vegetables do you think have charisma?  In Tuesday night’s television programme Radar Across The Pacific, comedian Te Radar was given “fiddle fern” to eat.  He seemed to be impressed by it, describing it as having charisma. Te Radar was eating the young, unfurling fronds of a fern.  These still-coiled fronds are variously called croziers… Read more »

A new native plantain, Plantago udicola

  • Botanical illustration of Plantago udicola. Copyright Bobbi Angell.
  • Habitat of Plantago udicola from Lake Sylvester (WELT SP090374/A). Photo copyright Mei Lin Tay.
  • The new species, Plantago udicola from Lake Sylvester (WELT SP090375/A). Photo copyright Mei Lin Tay.
  • The new species, Plantago udicola from Lake Sylvester (WELT SP090375/A). Photo copyright Mei Lin Tay.

Victoria University Emeritus Professor Phil Garnock-Jones and I have just described a new species of native plantain, Plantago udicola. The name udicola means “dwelling or living in damp places” and is in reference to the types of sites the new species is usually found in. Of the 200 or so species of Plantago worldwide, there… Read more »

West Coast Fern Fieldwork 2012, 4 – new, problematic, and interesting species

  • The cave spleenwort, Asplenium cimmeriorum, only occurs in limestone areas of the west coasts of both the North and South Islands. It is commonly found at cave entrances. We found a new sub-population in the Charleston Conservation Area. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • We found the lycophyte Lycopodiella cernua at a site near Haast, further south than the Okarito limit noted in the literature. Interestingly, this species also occurs in the tropics! Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
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  • Some authorities treat the small plants at lower right as a distinct species, swamp kiokio (Blechnum minus). Others regard them as part of a variable kiokio (Blechnum novae-zelandiae), big plants of which are at left. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Along with the Gleichenia and Sticherus, we were targeting a possible new species of Hymenophyllum filmy fern. We also made collections of several ‘problem’ species and other interesting finds. Cave spleenwort’s distribution based on Te Papa’s collections. Other blog posts about our West Coast fern fieldwork cover: What we were doing. Where we went. Sticherus… Read more »