I’m a co-author of a just-published scientific paper examining the evolution and classification of the Arthropteris climbing ferns. The paper was a real international collaboration, involving authors from China, Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, and New Zealand. It is unclear how many species there are of Arthropteris – probably somewhere betweenRead more

I recently co-authored a paper with Barbara Parris that investigated the scientific classification and naming of New Zealand’s strap ferns. If you’ve spent any time in New Zealand’s forests, you will have almost certainly seen the common strap fern. It has simple, undivided fronds up to 20 cm long, butRead more

I’d like to introduce a new species of New Zealand fern, Gleichenia inclusisora. Our scientific description was published just before Christmas 2012. The recognition of this species edges the number of native New Zealand fern and lycophyte species nearly to 200. Abstract of paper describing Gleichenia inclusisora. Email me ifRead more

Where would you go to find a new species? Perhaps somewhere remote and little-visited, especially if it is ecologically unusual – New Caledonia maybe… Well, instead, how about inside Te Papa’s collections, because that’s where I first discovered a new species of Gleichenia tangle fern. A lot of biodiversity remainsRead more

USA fern taxonomists have created a minor stir after re-classifying a group of central American ferns into a new genus named Gaga, after the singer Lady Gaga. Abstract of the article formally naming the new genus Gaga. Youtube video of the taxonomists discussing their research. The researchers say the namingRead more

Flowers of Myosotis aff. australis "white" from the Chalk Range, Marlborough, South Island (WELT SP090551). Photo by Heidi Meudt, copyright Te Papa.

This year I went on several field trips to collect native forget-me-nots (genus Myosotis). With my research on native plantains now finished, my current research focus is now to figure out how many native species of forget-me-nots we have in New Zealand, revise their taxonomy, understand their evolutionary history, andRead more

The new species, Plantago udicola from Lake Sylvester (WELT SP090375/A). Photo copyright Mei Lin Tay.

Victoria University Emeritus Professor Phil Garnock-Jones and I have just described a new species of native plantain, Plantago udicola. The name udicola means “dwelling or living in damp places” and is in reference to the types of sites the new species is usually found in. Of the 200 or soRead more

Te Papa Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey and I have just described a new species of fern, Lastreopsis kermadecensis.  It only occurs on Raoul Island, which is the largest island in the Kermadec Islands group.  Hence, the second part of the new species name! The Kermadec Islands are the most northernRead more

Aptenodytes forsteri

Since we released the new version of Collections Online  in July last year we’ve made the odd fix, or a new feature here and there. You probably don’t notice them but hopefully they’ve made your browsing experience a bit easier.  However recently we’ve done a couple of things we thought wereRead 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

Tramping in New Zealand forests can be an enjoyable and very relaxing activity. However, if your legs are hairy, it could be a painful and very annoying experience. Camouflaged among ferns and ground orchids, hook grasses are waiting, ready to clasp to the hairs or clothing of any unwary tramper.Read more