Posts tagged with Plants

Wild plants in town – a homage

  • I love the way plants grow / all over the place. / Weeds, I read once, / are ‘plants out of place’. / But, who’s to say? / Who’s to say?  Image © to and courtesy of jMj.
  • Epuni Street / Aerial roots / a source of / endless fascination for me. / What am I taking in / from the air / just by / being in it.  Image © to and courtesy of jMj.
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  • Above Strathmore. / 6” Coastal battery / on the Hills above Strathmore / 70th Heavy Battery / Guns. Not much beside remains. / Taupata - / 6” too?  Image © to and courtesy of jMj.

Plants can grow in what appear to be the strangest places.  This can be frustrating for property owners (e.g., grass in the gutter; footpaths cracked by pohutukawa roots). But our view of plants is often from our own animal-centric perspective; unlike our zoological kin, an individual plant doesn’t have the option of moving to a… Read more »

Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin 2012

Mänuka, Leptospermum scoparium. One of many native plants put to many uses. Captain Cook used it with rimu to make beer.

The botanically-inclined may find something of interest in the just-published Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin. Number 54 includes: the uses of some common native plants. notes on the propagation of native plants. accounts of the diatoms and bryophytes recorded during the 2011 bioblitz on Mana Island. the use of names in botany. detailed accounts of the… Read more »

New Caledonian plants

  • Another threat to New Caledonia’s vegetation is browsing by introduced deer and pigs. Conservation International are trialling using the amount of browse on the fern Orthiopteris firma to monitor the effectiveness of animal control projects. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • New Caledonia has a higher GDP per capita than New Zealand, principally due to nickel and copper mining. Mining operations are widely evident. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • The large areas covered by Melaleuca trees are very reminiscent of Australia. But they are also testament to one of the major threats to New Caledonia’s vegetation – fire. The fern Dicranopteris linearis flourishes amongst the Melaleuca regeneration. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • As I knelt to collect a fern, I was stunned to find myself surrounded by pitcher plants, Nepenthes vieillardii. The ‘pitchers’ are traps for catching insects. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Below are photos of some of the botanical/landscape highlights from the recent expedition to New Caledonia that I participated in. But first, a bit of background: New Zealand and New Caledonia both sit on the (largely) submerged continent Zealandia, which separated from Australia and the rest of Gondwana some 60-80 million years ago. Wikipedia’s page… 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 »

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 »

Talk: mapping NZ’s plants

Hooker’s spleenwort fern (Asplenium hookerianum) and its distribution in New Zealand based on specimens in Te Papa’s collection.

Next Tuesday night (27th March), I’m giving a talk at Wellington’s Otari Wilton’s Bush about how (and why) maps are generated from dried plant specimens in collections like those of Te Papa. I’ll also introduce some of the new internet tools that are making distribution information about New Zealand’s plants more readily available. Details: 7.30pm,… 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 »

Plants cultivated by Māori

  • Southern Wairarapa karaka grove. © Leon Perrie.
  • Southern Wairarapa whau. © Leon Perrie.
  • Arthropodium bifurcatum in a garden at Victoria University. © Leon Perrie.
  • Southern Wairarapa rengarenga. © Leon Perrie.

Alongside the plants brought from the tropical Pacific, it is thought that Māori cultivated at least a handful of New Zealand plant species. Massey University’s Lara Shepherd is investigating several such plants: karaka (Corynocarpus laevigatus), rengarenga (Arthropodium cirratum), and whau (Entelea arborescens). Karaka in Te Papa’s Bush City. Karaka, rengarenga, and whau are all only found… Read more »