Posts tagged with Plants

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 »

Native plants for your garden

Titoki, Alectryon excelsus.

Do you live in the Wellington region, want to have native plants in your garden, but don’t know what to choose? Then the Greater Wellington Regional Council has produced just what you need: the Wellington Regional Native Plant Guide.  I attended the recent launch of the revised 2010 edition. Wellington Regional Native Plant Guide. Lists… 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 »

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 »

Talking Australian Plants

  • Grevellia acanthifolia. Beautiful.
  • A Stylidium trigger-plant.
  • The parasitic orchid Dipodium.
  • This rare Gingidia species occurs near Armidale. The genus, a member of the carrot family, is otherwise confined to New Zealand.

I’m just back from the Australian Systematic Botany Society’s conference, followed by three days working in the herbarium of Sydney’s Botanic Gardens. Conference.  The conference involved three days of talks about the evolution and taxonomy of plants. I presented our recent work on the hen & chickens ferns. I found the response interesting, including several… Read more »

What’s it like to be a MSc student in systematic botany? Just ask Jessie…

  • The beautiful coastal plant Wahlenbergia congesta subps. haastii growing on sand dunes on the South Island’s west coast, by the mouth of Ship Ck. Photo © Jessie Prebble.
  • The beautiful coastal plant Wahlenbergia congesta subps. haastii growing on sand dunes on the South Island’s west coast, by the mouth of Ship Ck.
  • Wahlenbergia ceracea growing in an alpine bog on the slopes of Mt Kosciuszko, New South Wales, Australia.
  • This is the common South Island alpine plant Wahlenbergia albomarginata subsp. albomarginata, which grows profusely on the slopes of Mt Robert, Nelson Lakes area, New Zealand.

My name is Jessie Prebble and I am the current (2009) recipient of the Te Papa MSc Scholarship in Molecular Systematics. I’m studying at Victoria University, looking at the evolution of the plant genus Wahlenbergia in New Zealand and Australia. I’m using various molecular techniques to try to determine how reliable the current taxonomy of… Read more »