Posts tagged with Plants

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 »

Developing the next generation of systematists

Potential project plants: Gleichinia, Asplenium, and Myosotis.

Developing “the next generation” of professionals is perhaps one of the most important duties of skilled workers in any discipline.  Te Papa’s Botany staff are involved in co-supervising postgraduate university students in systematics. We are currently calling for applications for the Te Papa MSc Scholarship in Molecular Systematics for 2010. Te Papa is offering this… Read more »

Restoring our surrounds

Houpara, coastal five-finger, Pseudopanax lessonii, is native to the northern North Island, but not to Wellington. However, after being introduced by people, it now grows wild in Wellington (and many other parts of New Zealand outside its native range [http://blog.tepapa.govt.nz/2009/06/10/our-promiscuous-pseudopanax-plants/]). There are now a reasonable number of New Zealand plants occurring wild outside their indigenous distributions, entirely as a result of human activities. Photo by Leon Perrie. (c) Leon Perrie, Wellington.

I went to a very interesting Wellington Botanical Society talk last night, by Paul Blaschke of Friends of Owhiro Stream. Paul was talking about their work revegetating the catchment of the Owhiro Stream in southern Wellington. It stimulated an intriguing discussion about how and what we should be restoring, which in turn relates to what… Read more »

Our promiscuous Pseudopanax plants

  • Distribution maps for (A) lancewood, (B) coastal five-finger, and (C) their hybrids. Circles indicate natural distributions, and were compiled using data from the AK (Auckland Museum), CHR (Landcare Research), NZFRI (Scion), and WELT (Te Papa) herbaria. Squares for coastal five-finger and the hybrids indicate their ‘weedy’ distribution, this being a preliminary assessment based on my observations.
  • Maps_Sep08
  • Distribution maps for (A) lancewood, (B) coastal five-finger, and (C) their hybrids. Circles indicate natural distributions, and were compiled using data from the AK (Auckland Museum), CHR (Landcare Research), NZFRI (Scion), and WELT (Te Papa) herbaria. Squares for coastal five-finger and the hybrids indicate their ‘weedy’ distribution, this being a preliminary assessment based on my observations.
  • Coastal five-finger, houpara, Pseudopanax lessonii. Photo by Leon Perrie. (c) Leon Perrie, Wellington.

New Zealand’s plants have a bit of a reputation for pronounced promiscuity. There is supposedly a high rate of hybridisation, or individuals of one species breeding with individuals of a different species. I’m not entirely sure that this reputation is nationally deserved. Nevertheless, a striking example of hybridisation occurs in Pseudopanax, which is one of… Read more »

More about squid, now online!

The Te Papa blog is growing and diversifying and it’s all good.  It reflects the range of collections and expertise in the museum which span art, history, science, plants, animals, fossils, taonga Maori, and the Pacific.   Check out the recent art blog posts, along with posts on spiders, plants and even fossil tuatara. Among world museums… Read more »