Posts tagged with botany

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 »

Botany Fieldtrip Wairarapa 2010: Day 4

Horsetail, Equisetum arvense. Photo by Jean-Claude Stahl. © Te Papa.

Our final collecting day. We packed up and began heading from home. We spent about an hour alongside the road in the gorge of the Owahanga River. Peter was pleased to add several new mosses, including some that have a liking for calcareous substrates. We were disappointed to find the invasive horsetail Equisetum arvense well… Read more »

Botany Fieldtrip Wairarapa 2010: Day 3

  • Back at base, Leon and Barry press the bigger specimens between newspaper and cardboard. Pat, in the background, checks his notes. Photo by Jean-Claude Stahl. © Te Papa.
  • Peter and Pat look for mosses on rocks outside the forest. Photo by Jean-Claude Stahl. © Te Papa.
  • Jean-Claude took photographs of most of the bigger plants that we collected. These will go on Te Papa’s Collections Online website. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • The divaricating shrub Raukaua anomalus was common at all of the forested sites we visited. Photo by Jean-Claude Stahl. © Te Papa.

On day three we collected from another QEII National Trust site inland from Akitio. Diverse habitats kept us busy, with the canopy ranging from black beech (Nothofagus solandri) on ridges through hillside tawa (Beilschmiedia tawa) to creek-lined pukatea (Laurelia novae-zelandiae).  Collections Online specimens from Wairarapa 2009 trip. Growing Te Papa’s plant collection. Botany Fieldtrip Wairarapa… Read more »