Posts tagged with Australia

Botanic gardens: our outdoor museums and why they matter

Hobbits enjoying the hobbit hole at the Oldenburg Botanic Garden. Sept 2016. Photo by Heidi Meudt.

My name is Heidi Meudt and I’m a Research Scientist in Botany at Te Papa, currently doing taxonomic research on New Zealand’s native forget-me-nots. As part of my job, I attend scientific conferences in New Zealand and overseas. Over the course of my botany travels during September, I’ve managed to visit five botanic gardens in three different… Read more »

Botany travels: representing New Zealand around the world

Group photo at the International Boraginales Conference, just outside the Nees Institute, University of Bonn, Germany, where it was held. Sept 2016.

My name is Heidi Meudt and I’m a Research Scientist in Botany at Te Papa, currently doing taxonomic research on New Zealand’s native forget-me-nots. As part of my job, I occasionally attend scientific conferences in New Zealand and overseas. I’ve blogged before about some of the reasons that international conferences are important for those of us doing… Read more »

Over the Christmas holidays, Australian researcher Stephen Marshall visited Te Papa to view a little-known watercolour in our collection: John William Tristram’s ‘A Tremulous Dusk‘, painted in 1904. Stephen is currently writing a book on the artist, and wrote this blog to tell us more about the beautiful painting he found.  A rare early twentieth… Read more »

Why Gallipoli? Join us for an enduring conversation

I have been an avid listener of the BBC World Service’s wonderful series on the War that Changed the World, which is being broadcast locally by Radio New Zealand. Working in partnership with the British Council, the BBC has recorded a series of panel discussions in different cities around the world from Sarajevo to Dresden to Istanbul,… Read more »

Dotted landscapes in Aboriginal art

Balls of grey-green grasses dotting the red earth of the opposing hillside across the valley. The scale is misleading – note the gum tree at top-centre. © Leon Perrie.

One of the sections in the current incarnation of the Ngā Toi, Arts Te Papa exhibition showcases a selection from Te Papa’s collection of Australian Aboriginal art. The show Gifted: Aboriginal Art 1971 – 2011 includes Papunya Tula paintings created in the 1970’s in a community near Alice Springs with a style of Aboriginal art… Read more »

NZ fern colonises Australia, twice

Asplenium hookerianum

It is not just people crossing the ditch – a little New Zealand fern has also emigrated to Australia, and not just once but twice. This is the first known case amongst ferns or seed plants of the same species dispersing twice across the Tasman Sea. Hooker’s spleenwort fern, or Asplenium hookerianum, is a close… Read more »

Te Papa botanists attend recent systematic botany conference

  • Otira Valley, Arthur's Pass National Park, ASBS 2010 field trip, Dec 2010. Photo by Heidi Meudt, © Te Papa.
  • Andrew Clarke (Otago University) and Heidi Meudt presenting a wiki workshop at the ASBS 2010 conference. Photo by Carlos Lehnebach, © Te Papa.
  • Otira Valley, Arthur's Pass National Park, ASBS 2010 field trip. Photo by Heidi Meudt, © Te Papa.
  • Carlos Lehnebach giving his talk on Uncinia at the ASBS 2010 conference. Photo by Heidi Meudt, © Te Papa.

Botanists from Te Papa recently attended and presented some of their research at the 2010 Australian Systematic Botany Society (ASBS) Conference. Notably, this is only the second time the annual ASBS Conference has been held in New Zealand. The theme of this year’s meeting was, “Systematic botany across the ditch: links between Australia and New… Read more »

Vampires in the leaf litter

  • A Dendrocnide stinger tree. This nettle-relative packs a particularly nasty poisonous punch if you have the misfortune to touch any part of it (including the trunk!). Not as ferocious-looking as our tree nettle, but I’m reliably informed the sting is worse. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • An echidna. A monotreme mammal like the platypus. Cute but spiky. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Spikes on the stems of rattan palms. These palms also had fine, hanging trendils, which were easy to walk into because they were hard to see, but difficult to subsequently escape because they had barbed spikes. Photos by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • The impressively armed leaf of what we believe is a Solanum (relative of tomato, potato, and poroporo). Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

There’s trauma in this leaf litter – can you see it?! A downside to fieldwork in Australia is the number of things that will bite, impale, or otherwise injure. We had several wet days when the leeches were out in force. At one site, half of our group suffered a leech in the eye –… Read more »

Queensland fern fieldwork

Asplenium carnarvonense is only known from a few gorges in inland southern Queensland. The gorges provide respite for ferns and other moisture-loving plants in what is otherwise an arid landscape. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

I was recently in Queensland, Australia, working with colleagues from the University of Melbourne to collect ferns for DNA analyses. We were principally after the spleenwort Asplenium ferns, and drove large distances in pursuit of the different species. 27 of Australia’s 30 species of Asplenium occur in Queensland, which has a rich fern diversity. New… Read more »

Australian cousins

  • 6.  Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Museum of New Zealand.
  • 5.  Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Museum of New Zealand.
  • 4.  Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Museum of New Zealand.
  • 3.  Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Museum of New Zealand.

During my recent visit to Victoria’s Alpine National Park in Australia, I was interested to see a number of familiar plants amongst the unfamiliar gum trees. Searching Victoria’s Alpine National Park for Asplenium hookerianum. Do you recognise any of these? A harder one to finish off. Answers: 1. Acaena novae-zelandiae, bidibidi, piripiri.  A species indigenous to… Read more »