Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 4, 1871
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(Abstract.)

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The writer pointed out that the rain-guages in common use were constructed on some arbitrary scale, and supplied with a measuring glass graduated to hundredths of an inch in proportion to the collecting aperture of the instrument; consequently the breakage of the glass disabled the instrument until another could be procured, a matter often involving considerable difficulty and delay, especially in a newly settled country. He proposed to utilize the ordinary ounce glass, which could be readily procured, by adopting a rainguage with a circular aperture of 101/2 inches, so that each 1/100 of an inch of rain would be represented by half an ounce. A simple correction was supplied for the slight error involved in the adaptation.

Mr. Peacock admitted the value of the form now proposed, but advocated the great superiority of a self-registering guage.

Mr. Kirk remarked that while fully prepared to admit the advantages afforded by self-registering instruments, he considered they were even more exposed to the risk of accident than the ordinary kind, and were attended with the further disadvantage of extra cost in the first instance. The form now proposed could readily be manufactured in zinc or copper, so as to be adapted to any kind of receiving vessel, and the ounce glass could be procured from any druggist at a small cost. It supplied a recognised want—a cheap rainguage for the use of settlers, and was therefore calculated to increase the number of observers of rain-fall which varied in different localities even in this province to a much greater extent than was generally supposed.

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3. “On the Botany of the Titirangi District of the Province of Auckland,” by T. F. Cheeseman. (See Transactions, p. 270.) This paper describes the chief physical features of the district, and the principal characteristics of its flora.

Mr. Kirk considered the paper a valuable contribution to our knowledge of the botany of the north. As compared with the remainder of the country north of the Auckland isthmus, the flora of the Titirangi district exhibited but few peculiarities, the most striking being the presence of Viola filicaulis, Myriophillum pedunculatum, Myostis australis, M. Forsteri, and the absence of the beech (Fagus fusca), and one or two other trees. The peculiar distribution of the beech in this province was worthy of a passing remark. From the East Cape south wards to Otago it occurred frequently in forests, but to the north it was entirely absent from large areas; it occurred at the Thames, Waihekei, and Wairoa, but was entirely absent from the isthmus and from the Titirangi district, and was not known to occur in the Kaipara; it occurred sparingly at Wainui, the Kawau, and more freely at Omaha, but was absent in the Great Barrier Island. It appeared again at Whangarei, which was the most northern locality known on the East Coast; although on the West Coast it was said to be abundant in the Hokianga ranges, and again at Kaitaia; It seemed highly probable that in former periods the beech occupied a more prominent position in the flora of the north than it held at the present time. The minute Hymenophyllum, now described for the first time, was an interesting plant. On examining some of the specimens collected by Mr. Cheeseman, he was at first inclined to consider it a form of H. minimum; but from further specimens received from Mr. Springall, who collected it on fallen trees at the Great Barrier, he found it was a new species. He believed it had been discovered in other localities, and would probably prove to be widely distributed, although easily overlooked from its small size, or entirely missed from its habitat being frequently on lofty trees; in general appearance it resembled its southern congener Trichomanes armstrongii.

Mr. Cheeseman's remarks with regard to the number of plants enumerated by him as indigenious in the district being considerably larger than had hitherto been enumerated from any district of similar area, must be received with some qualification, as the number recorded from the Auckland Isthmus and North Shore, a district having an area less than one-fifth of that now under consideration, is nearly identical.

4. “Note on Megapodius pritchardi, Gray,” by Captain F. W. Hutton, F.G.S. (See Transactions, p. 165). This paper treats of a megapode in the Auckland Museum, previously described by Mr. Buller at page 14 of Transactions of the N. Z. Institute, Vol. III., as a new species, which he proposed to call M. huttoni. Captain Hutton considers it identical with M. pritchardi, Gray. A specimen of the bird was exhibited, also one of its eggs.

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5. “Notes on the New Zealand Asteliads with Descriptions of New Species,” by T. Kirk, F.L.S. (see Transactions, p. 241.) The writer described the general characteristics of the New Zealand members of the genus, more especially of the lowland forms, and drew attention to the prominent position which the genus occupies in the flora of the Colony, notwithstanding its comparatively small number of species. The paper was illustrated by a series of dried specimens of each species in various stages of flower and fruit, with the exceptions of the alpine A. nervosa.

The President remarked that he had analysed the gum exuded by A. trinervia when cut down, and found it to contain over 90 per cent of water In addition to the economic purposes to which the genus had been applied, as enumerated in the paper just read, he would state that the thin pellicle of the leaves of A. banksii and A. solandri, and perhaps of other species, was twisted into wicks for lamps and candles by the Maoris.