In 2015, ecologists Chris Stowe and Claire Newell found a strange fern during a vegetation survey in Whirinaki Forest, in the eastern North Island. They sent a frond to Te Papa’s fern experts Leon Perrie and Patrick Brownsey, who were also puzzled. This fern was clearly a Dicksonia tree fern but didn’t match any known species. Was it a new species?Read more

Until now, it hasn’t been possible to get the DNA out of a pressed dried plant (herbarium specimen) without destroying part of it by removing a leaf and grinding it up. But new research by scientist Lara Shepherd has proven that you can use an eraser to ‘rub off’ the DNA.Read more

The distribution of kōwhai and its close relatives throughout the Southern Hemisphere has intrigued scientists, including Charles Darwin, for over 150 years. Recent research led by Lara Shepherd has revealed more about the relationships among this iconic group of plants.Read more