Posts tagged with botany

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 »

Transit of Venus Botany

Today is the transit of Venus, when that planet passes in front of the sun. Hopefully the bad weather blanketing much of New Zealand doesn’t preclude at least some people from observing the event. Observing the transit was one of Captain Cook’s primary objectives for the Endeavour expedition, and this was done in Tahiti in… 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 »

How Te Papa contributes to plant conservation

A specimen of the moss Dicranoweisia spenceri in Te Papa’s collection. This species has a conservation ranking of “Data deficient”; that is, not enough is known about its occurrence to classify the level of threat it faces. © Te Papa.

In the next two weeks, some of Te Papa’s Botany staff will be looking for several poorly known mosses and liverworts. For instance, the moss Dicranoweisia spenceri was recorded more than 60 years ago from near Mount Ruapehu but it hasn’t been reported from there since – is it still there? We’re going to check…. Read more »

William Colenso anniversary celebrations

As the History Team prepares to bring out William Colenso’s magnificent printing press for the forthcoming exhibition Oceania – Early Encounters (opening 6 August 2011), I am reminded that the Hawke’s Bay Museum & Art Gallery are planning ‘to celebrate the life and ideas of Colenso – one of the fathers of New Zealand – on… Read more »

A few Chilean plants

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  • Michay, Berberis darwinii (Berberdicaceae). While beautiful in its native Chile, it is an invasive pest in New Zealand. Photo © Heidi M. Meudt.
  • Notro, or Chilean fire bush, Embothrium coccineum (Proteaceae). Photo © Heidi M. Meudt.
  • Gaultheria sp. (Ericaceae). Photo © Heidi M. Meudt.

During a recent family holiday to central and southern Chile, I was able to do a bit of botanising. In addition to several plants endemic to Chile, we also saw several with a Pacific connection. First stop was a day trip to the National Botanic Gardens at Viña del Mar to check out some native… Read more »

Does every spider orchid in New Zealand have its fungus gnat?

Flowers of the native Spider orchid Nematoceras trilobum.

Te Papa’s Curator of Botany, Carlos Lehnebach, has just been awarded a Marsden Fast-Start grant for three years to answer this intriguing question. Spider Orchids are a group of terrestrial orchids that are usually found on forest floors and road banks. Their flowers are small and dull in colour, and it has been suggested that… Read more »