Hybrid hunt turns up more weedy natives

Hybrid hunt turns up more weedy natives

I was out last week with Tim Park from the regional council looking for Pseudopanax hybrids between lancewood and coastal five-finger near Porirua.

Coastal five-finger and the hybrids are weeds in the Wellington region.

Previous post on lancewood and coastal five-finger hybridisation.

We spotted a couple of other weedy natives – New Zealand species that are naturalising (self-sowing) outside their native range – that were new to us.

Meryta sinclairii, puka. Self-sown saplings near Porirua. Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Te Papa.

Meryta sinclairii, puka, is native to the Three Kings Islands and (possibly) the Hen & Chickens Islands.  Puka is commonly cultivated.  While I’ve heard others report puka’s naturalisation, this was the first time I had seen it for myself.  Meryta is a close relative of Pseudopanax.

Probable Pseudopanax discolor. Self-sown saplings near Porirua. Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Te Papa.

An even more interesting find was what appeared to be naturalising Pseudopanax discolor.  This species is native to Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel Peninsula.  I was not previously aware of it naturalising in Wellington (or anywhere outside its native range).  Pseudopanax discolor is rare in gardens, although cultivars and/or its hybrids with P. lessonii are fairly common.

I’m interested in weedy natives, especially in the Wellington region where Corynocarpus laevigatus (karaka), Hoheria populnea (lacebark), Metrosideros excelsa (pohutukawa), Pittosporum crassifolium, Pittosporum ralphii, Pseudopanax crassifolius x lessonii, and Pseudopanax lessonii (coastal five-finger) are widespread and well known.  I’d be interested in reports of other species naturalising.

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