I’m just back from three weeks collecting ferns in New Caledonia. For a place so close to New Zealand (shorter flight time than to Australia), I knew very little about New Caledonia. I expect that is true for many New Zealanders, and it presumably reflects our very different cultures, notRead more

Congratulations to Bruce Marshall, Te Papa’s Collection Manager Molluscs, who was recently honoured with a Doctor of Science by Victoria University of Wellington. Molluscs are the group of animals that includes snails, slugs, shellfish, squids and octopuses. Doctor of Science degrees are awarded for exceptionally significant contributions to a fieldRead more

Which vegetables do you think have charisma?  In Tuesday night’s television programme Radar Across The Pacific, comedian Te Radar was given “fiddle fern” to eat.  He seemed to be impressed by it, describing it as having charisma. Te Radar was eating the young, unfurling fronds of a fern.  These still-coiledRead more

Would you like to learn to recognise some of New Zealand’s ferns? “Fernland” was an early colloquial name for New Zealand, so it’s almost patriotic to be able to recognise a few of the country’s ferns! I’ve put together notes and images for 13 common species, showing how to distinguish themRead more

Te Papa Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey and I have just described a new species of fern, Lastreopsis kermadecensis.  It only occurs on Raoul Island, which is the largest island in the Kermadec Islands group.  Hence, the second part of the new species name! The Kermadec Islands are the most northernRead more

Te Papa Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey was recently contacted about a population near Levin of the very rare Ophioglossum petiolatum. Ophioglossum are odd looking ferns, as befits a common name of “adder’s tongue ferns”.  We don’t have a picture of O. petiolatum (stalked adder’s tongue fern), but the related O.Read more

Tayloria mosses belong to the wonderfully named Splachnaceae family, and grow on dung and carcasses! Such substrates are unusual for mosses, and Tayloria has several adaptations for its specialist life-style. Mosses reproduce by spores, which in most cases are dispersed by the wind, and may or may not land inRead more

Te Papa’s botanists made several significant finds during their explorations accompanying the recent Bryophyte and Lichen Workshop. Led by Research Associate Peter Beveridge and Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey, the moss Dicranoweisia spenceri was found in some abundance at the site we investigated within Tongariro National Park.  This is great newsRead more

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 stillRead more

Many New Zealand forests are sprinkled with white at this time of the year. The indigenous Clematis are flowering, and particularly striking with its large white flowers is Clematis paniculata (puawhananga, white clematis). There is a plant of Clematis paniculata flowering wonderfully at present in Te Papa’s Bush City, atRead more