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

For many years, Te Papa botanists have included Otari-Wilton’s Bush collections in their research. Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton’s Bush Reserve is a special place in Wellington–“the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants”. This makes it an important educational and research resource for theRead 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