The shrub Rhaphithamnus venustus (Verbenaceae). Photo © Heidi M. Meudt.

During a recent family holiday to central and southern Chile, I was able to do a bit of botanising. In addition to several plants endemic to Chile, we also saw several with a Pacific connection. First stop was a day trip to the National Botanic Gardens at Viña del MarRead more

We have just described a new species of Tmesipteris fork fern. Fork ferns are odd looking and only distantly related to other ferns. We now recognise five species in New Zealand. There are only about 15 species around the world, with Australasia their strong-hold. The new species has been namedRead more

Measuring leaf width (in mm) of a Te Papa specimen of Plantago spathulata with a digital calipers. Photo © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

As a plant taxonomist, most of my work involves determining how many species are in a particular genus of flowering plants, how they are related to one another, and what the correct scientific names for those species are. To do this, I gather and analyze data from a number ofRead more

Habitat of a native New Zealand hooked grass. Photo by C.A. Lehnebach (c) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

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.Read more

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 nativesRead more

I was recently in New Plymouth, where I took the opportunity to visit Pukekura Park. Aside from its lovely cricket ground, the Park is of course notable for its plants. Pukekura Park website. One of the botanical highlights for me was king fern, probably best seen at the Park inRead more

No, it is not Christmas already. (Fortunately the year hasn’t passed by that quickly.) But this pohutukawa on Wellington’s waterfront, opposite Frank Kitts Park, seems to think so. It has been spluttering into flower over the last few weeks. The pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) is New Zealand’s ‘Christmas tree’, its burstingRead more