Posts tagged with names

A new species of fern for New Zealand, Asplenium lepidotum

The abundance of scales on the upper surface of young fronds is a distinguishing feature for Asplenium lepidotum.  These scales appear as black dots.  Photo by Leon Perrie.  © Te Papa.

Finding and naming new species is a core part of the job for Te Papa’s scientists.  More than 2500 animal and plant species have been named by museum staff since 1865.  A recent example is the fern Asplenium lepidotum, described by myself and Pat Brownsey.  This brings the number of indigenous ferns and lycophytes in… Read more »

Common plant names for Māori Language Week

  • Whauwhaupaku is readily recognised by its leaves with (usually) five stalked leaflets. It is common in the North Island, and extends into the South Island, with a southern limit around Dunedin. Photo © Leon Perrie.
  • Tarata is a widespread tree that is also common in cultivation, because of its fast growth and lemon-scented flowers. The leaves, when crushed, also smell of lemon. Photo © Leon Perrie.
  • Tawhai trees dominate much of New Zealand’s remaining forests, being adapted to cold (or dry) conditions. If you want to be more specific, tawhairaunui can be used for red and hard beech, and tawhairauriki for black and mountain beech. The photo shows silver beech, known simply as tawhai. Photo © Leon Perrie.
  • Porokaiwhiri is a common and widespread small tree. Photo © Leon Perrie.

For many of New Zealand’s indigenous plants, the Māori name is the ‘common’ name, and English names are rarely, if ever, used; think rimu, tōtara, kauri, pōhutukawa, and mamaku. Other species have both Māori and English names, but it is the latter that is predominant, at least in my experience. Below are some such examples… Read more »

A name change for strap ferns

Reproductive structures on the frond underside of Notogrammitis billardierei. Photo Leon Perrie. (c) Te Papa.

I recently co-authored a paper with Barbara Parris that investigated the scientific classification and naming of New Zealand’s strap ferns. If you’ve spent any time in New Zealand’s forests, you will have almost certainly seen the common strap fern. It has simple, undivided fronds up to 20 cm long, but usually much less. It is… Read more »