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Volume 3, 1870
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Art. XXVIII.—Notes on Certain New Zealand Plants not included in the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora.”

[Read before the Auckland Institute, September 12, 1870.]

The object of this paper is simply to attract the attention of New Zealand botanists to the plants described therein, as most of them may be expected to occur in other parts of the colony, and it is desirable that their distribution should be clearly ascertained.

Hymenanthera latifolia, Endl., var. Tasmanica.

A dwarf bush or straggling shrub, 5 to 25 feet high. Leaves usually close set, obovate, narrowed into rather stout petioles, 2–3 inches long, distantly crenate, or serrate, finely reticulate on both surfaces; flowers in axillary fascicles, peduncles ¼″-⅜″ long, with two minute opposite bracts about the middle, erect or decurved; calyx lobes obtuse, petals more than twice as long as the sepals, the obtuse tips spreading, connective of the anther, with a fringed terminal membrane, involute on the edge, the dorsal scale linear, acute as long as the cells; fruit nearly globose, tipped with the remains of the style, purplish.

Var. Chathamica appears to differ from our plant only in the leaves being much narrowed at the base and more deeply serrated, and in the larger fruit.

In littoral situations. Tapotopoto Bay, T. K., Mount Camel, Mr. Buchaman, Taranga Island, T. K., Great Barrier Island, Flat Island, and Little Barrier Island, T. K.

This plant is abundant on the Little Barrier, where it attains the height of 25 feet, as an irregularly branched shrub. Mr. Buchanan showed me specimens of a small-leaved spinous form of this genus, collected in Wellington Harbour, which is probably referable to H. crassifolia.

Hibiscus diversifolius, Jacq.

H. Beckleri, F. Muell. H. Taylori, Buchanan.

A stout much-branched herb, 3–5 feet high, branches woody at the base; branches, petioles, and rarely the principal ribs of the leaf clothed with small prickles mixed with setæ. Leaves alternate, on stout petioles, petiole 2″-3″ long, lamina 2″-4″ cordate, or rounded cordate, obscurely 3–5-lobed, doubly serrate, hispid. Flowers in terminal elongated racemes, solitary or in

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pairs, sessile or shortly pedicelled, bracts of the lower flowers large leafy, of the upper small, narrow linear, often deciduous, calyx coriaceous, lobes about 8 marginate, narrow, corolla 3″-4″ across, pale bright straw colour, with a dark maroon eye, capsule conical, valves rugose, when young, densely hispid, calyx lobes and bracts covered with harsh rigid hairs, which cause much irritation to the skin when the plant is handled.

Spirits' Bay and the adjacent district, T. K. Between the Bay of Islands and Mongonui, Colenso.

Also, in New South Wales, Queensland, Norfolk Island, and other islands in the South Pacific, South Africa, Mauritius, and Madagascar.

Mr. Colenso appears to have been its original discoverer in New Zealand.

The branches yield a coarse fibre.

Linum marginale, A. Cunn.

A perennial herb, with numerous erect or diffuse slender wiry stems, springing from a woody root stock. Stems 1′-3′ high, the upper part irregularly branched. Leaves ½″–¾″ long, linear-lanceolate, acute or obtuse, the lower ones falling before the capsules are matured. Flowers on long slender pedicels, pale blue. Sepals ovate-lanceolate, acute, with membranous margins. Petals nearly twice the length of the sepals. Styles united, their tips free, recurved. Capsule globose, “divided into 10 1-seeded cocci.”

From the North Cape to Upper Waikato, New Plymouth, Wellington, T.K.

Mr. Buchanan informs me that a blue-flowered flax, found by Dr. Haast in the Canterbury Alps, is probably referable to this species.

Easily distinguished from L. monogynum, Forst., by its slender stems and shallow blue flowers.

It is probably common in suitable localities throughout the colony.

Common in Australia and Tasmania; closely allied to L. angustifolium, D.C., from which it differs in the united styles.

Apium leptophyllum, F. Mueller.
Helosciadium leptophyllum, D.C.

Stems slender, erect or diffuse, 3 inches to 1 foot in height, glabrous, faintly grooved. Leaves tri-pinnate, leaflets numerous, linear flat or almost filiform, lower leaves petiolate, petioles winged, sheathing, upper leaves sessile or nearly so. Umbels numerous, springing from the nodes, small, sessile, rays 2 or 3, partial umbels many flowered, flowers minute, pedicellate, involucral bracts 0, style short. Fruit small, ovate, with turgid ribs.

Kororareka, and other places at the Bay of Islands, T. K., Kawau Island, T. K. Said to occur at Whangarei, but on insufficient authority.

Queensland, New South Wales, South America.

New Zealand specimens are much more slender than Australian; the segments of the leaves are wider and usually flat.

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Olea apetala, Vahl.

An umbrageous shrub or small tree, 12–25 feet high, branches spreading, often tortuous; bark brown, in old specimens furrowed and corky; leaves opposite petioled, 3″–4″ long, 1″–2 ½″ wide, ovate, acuminate, very coriaceous, and of a deep glossy green, midrib prominent, veins distinct beneath; male flower not seen; female flower in stout racemes, 1″ to 1 ½″ long, spreading, 12–18 flowered, flowers in rather long pedicels; drupe obscurely deltoid, with rounded sides, apparently larger than in O. Cunninghamii, but only two or three old specimens were collected.

A much smaller tree than O. Cunninghamii, and of more spreading habit; by far the most striking of the New Zealand olives.

Rocky places near the sea. (Bream Head?), Taranga Islands, Great Barrier Island, Nelson Island, Little Barrier Island, T. K.

Also, on Norfolk Island.

Gratiola latifolia, R. Br.

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A sub-erect or prostrate herb, stems often rooting at the base, ascending 6″–12″ high, glabrous. Leaves sessile, ¾″–1″ in length, amplexicaul, broadly ovate or elliptic, obtuse, irregularly toothed, 3-nerved. Flowers on short peduncles, rather large, calyx ⅜″ long in fruit, segments broadly lanceolate, acuminate. Corolla white, large, 2/8″ long, white, tip shorter than the tube, anthers 2-celled, staminadia elongated, capsule ovoid, obtuse, inflated.

In marshy places. Puriri forest at Mangawhare, etc.

Also, in Tasmania, Australia, and extra-tropical South America.

This plant is considered by Bentham to be a form of G. Peruviana, L., of which he appears to make G. sexdentata, A. Cunn., a variety. G. latifolia appears hitherto to have escaped the notice of botanists in New Zealand, and the points of difference are of sufficient interest to warrant my drawing the attention of botanists to it.

We have two forms of G. sexdentata, A. Cunn. (1.) A small erect form, with quadrangular stems and entire, obtuse, ovate, spreading leaves, flowers small; easily recognized by the pale green hue of the entire plant. (2.) A larger form, usually prostrate or sub-erect, with serrate, acute, leaves somewhat appressed, and large flowers; the whole plant of a purplish tint. Our forms are glabrous, but in Tasmania and Australia the various forms are “viscid-pubescent.”

Potamogeton Poligonifolius, Pourr. P. oblongus, Viv.

Upper leaves slightly coriaceous, floating 1″-3″ long, on rather long petioles, oblong-elliptical, lower leaves linear-lanceolate. Spike slender, densely flowered. Fruit small, obtuse, rounded on the back. Petioles always leaf-bearing, and longer than the leaves, stem creeping below. Fruit reddish brown.

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Distinguished from P. natans by the rounded minute fruit, and the petioles being invariably leaf-bearing. A depauperated state occurs, in which the entire plant is less than three-quarters of an inch in height.

Ponds and marshes. Great Omaha, Papakura.

Abundant in Europe, but I am not aware of its existence elsewhere, except in New Zealand.

Scirpus fluitans, Linn.
Isolepis fluitans, R. Br. Eleogiton fluitans, Luik. Eleocharis fluitans, Hook.

Stem floating or erect, branched, leafy, compressed, flower stems with a sheathing linear leaf at the base, spike solitary, terminal, ovate, few flowered, glumes obtuse, keeled, with membranous edges, outer glumes shorter than the spike, which they envelope, stigmas two, bristles 0, nut obovate, tipped with the base of the style.

Still waters, and margins of lakes, etc. Whangape, Waikare, and Waihi Lakes, Waikato; probably common elsewhere in New Zealand, but easily overlooked.

Europe, abundant.