Watercolour painting of Myosotis capitata by Nancy Adams. https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/object/835481

Bird experts Colin Miskelly and Alan Tennyson recently returned from a research trip to the subantarctic Auckland Islands. Although their main aim was to study birds, Botany Researcher Heidi Meudt sent them on a separate mission – to collect a rare flower.Read more

Now that springtime is upon us in New Zealand, many plants are starting to flower, producing pollen. Many of us have a negative association with pollen due to its role in causing allergies [PDF, 172KB]. But not all pollen causes allergies, and pollen is of course extremely important to the biology andRead more

Surrealist painting by Rita Angus

Around 1945, Rita Angus painted a man sitting in an armchair, next to a table of books and a bunch of flowers. Nothing too strange so far, right? Except that there is a devil in a long purple robe creeping up behind him. Not to mention the huge spider crawlingRead more

A cluster of lemonwood flowers. Photo: Lara Shepherd

Have you noticed a strong sweet smell while walking past any trees lately? You might be smelling the flowers of lemonwood/tarata (Pittosporum eugenioides). This native New Zealand tree is better known for its lemon-scented leaves than its flowers, which are small and pale. However, the flowers produce an almost overpoweringRead more

Myosotis petiolata var. pansa from the northern Taranaki coast, which we found and collected in Dec 2010. Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

Spring is in the air, and for botanists like myself that means it’s time to head out into the field to try to find and collect plant specimens for our research. This year, like last year, I will be going to specific places around the country to look for differentRead more