While exploring the subalpine flora around the Otira Valley during the field trip at the end of the Australian Systematic Botany Society 2010 Conference I recently attended, I came across some plants that I have studied in the past, as well as others that I’m about to begin researching. After
Does the plant in the above photo look familiar? That’s probably because the tree in the photo is in the same genus—Sophora—as the kōwhai. There are about 45 species of Sophora worldwide, including the toromiro tree from Rapa Nui (Easter Island) shown above. There are eight different species of Sophora
Te Papa’s Curator of Botany, Carlos Lehnebach, has just been awarded a Marsden Fast-Start grant for three years to answer this intriguing question. Spider Orchids are a group of terrestrial orchids that are usually found on forest floors and road banks. Their flowers are small and dull in colour, and
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 named
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.
My name is Jessie Prebble and I am the current (2009) recipient of the Te Papa MSc Scholarship in Molecular Systematics. I’m studying at Victoria University, looking at the evolution of the plant genus Wahlenbergia in New Zealand and Australia. I’m using various molecular techniques to try to determine how
New Zealand’s plants have a bit of a reputation for pronounced promiscuity. There is supposedly a high rate of hybridisation, or individuals of one species breeding with individuals of a different species. I’m not entirely sure that this reputation is nationally deserved. Nevertheless, a striking example of hybridisation occurs in
This amazingly comprehensive compilation of archival material relating to William Colenso’s botanical collections has just been published by the New Zealand Native Orchid Group. The material has been researched by Ian St George and includes unpublished work by the late Bruce Hamlin (former Curator of Botany at the National Museum