You cannot be much closer to extinction than the swamp helmet orchid (Corybas carsei), a tiny terrestrial orchid that is found in a single wetland in the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Fortunately, recently published studies, part of Te Papa/VUW student Jennifer Alderton-Moss’s thesis, are helping to understand how mycorrhizal fungi can be used to save one of our most threatened orchids. Jennifer Alderton-Moss and Botany Curator Carlos Lehnebach describe the work.
Because of their modest flowers and small size, New Zealand epiphytic orchids are rarely talked about and even more rarely studied. This is about to change as summer research intern Joe Dillon (Victoria University of Wellington) spends his summer at Te Papa and Ōtari Wilton’s Bush native botanic garden researching an
Massey University student Hayden Jones and Botany Curator Carlos Lehnebach are launching a citizen science project aiming at solving the identity crisis that surrounds one of our most common terrestrial orchids and your observation could provide the clue to solving this taxonomic imbroglio. Maikuku – the white sun orchid (Thelymitra
Museums are magical places where time travel happens almost on a daily basis and getting to know what our ancestors and their acquaintances were up to in the 1800s is not so far a reach. Botany Curator Carlos Lehnebach describes how the discovery of a box full of seed packets stored at Te Papa brought a botanist, a nurseryman and his great-great-granddaughter together more than a century later.
Bringing the swamp helmet orchid back from the brink of extinction is a mission that requires a multidisciplinary team of scientists, good eyesight and a lot of patience. There are only a few hundred plants of this species in the world; all of them are here in Aotearoa New Zealand. Curator Dr Carlos Lehnebach talks about his latest research to save this species.
Bart Cox and Jasmine Gibbins spent their summer researching native orchids at Te Papa. Bart and Jasmine are part of a group of seven students from Victoria University of Wellington that were awarded a Summer Research Scholarship co-funded by Te Papa and Victoria University of Wellington. Bart’s research focused on a threatened
Orchids are one of the top five plant groups with conservation issues in New Zealand. Unlike many other endangered or uncommon plants, propagation of native orchids from seed for conservation has not been attempted in New Zealand before. With the help of funding from the Otari Wilton’s Bush Trust, the
Te Papa’s collection of pressed, dried plant specimens includes samples of native and exotic species collected in New Zealand and other parts of the world. Many of the foreign specimens currently in the collection were brought into New Zealand in the late 1870s to be used as reference material and to
Today, two rare species of forget-me-nots have been added to the Flora of New Zealand. These new species were discovered during an expedition I led to Kahurangi National Park, one of the hotspot for forget-me-nots diversity in New Zealand. These new species, Myosotis chaffeyorum (Chaffey’s Forget-me-not) and Myosotis mooreana (Moore’s forget-me-not) are described and illustrated
When we think about about orchids we usually think about tropical islands or unexplored jungle-covered mountains in distant lands. This is not always the case, and many orchids are also found in temperate and cold regions of the world. Some orchids have even reached the Subantarctic islands where, not so long ago,
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
There are four reasons that make kohekohe (Dysoxylum spectabile) one of the funkiest trees in town First, unlike many other trees, Kohekohe flowers sprout from the trunk and branches. This feature is known as cauliflory and it’s believed to be an adaptation to pollination and seed dispersal by animals that can’t fly or insects living
Did you know that Hook Grasses can control water loss by folding up their leaves? Contrary to their common name, Hook Grasses are not grasses but Sedges and they belong to the family Cyperaceae. Sedges are commonly found in wet or poorly drained habitats. Hook Grasses, however, can be found in a much greater diversity of habitats.
Tramping in New Zealand forests can be an enjoyable and very relaxing activity. However, if your legs are hairy, it could be a painful and very annoying experience. Camouflaged among ferns and ground orchids, hook grasses are waiting, ready to clasp to the hairs or clothing of any unwary tramper.