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Volume 7, 1874
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Art. XLVII.—On the Flowering Plants and Ferns of the Chatham Islands.

Plates XII—XV.

[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 21st November, 1874.]

The present list of the Chatham Island plants is compiled from the collection in the herbarium of the Colonial Museum at Wellington. Nearly the whole of this collection has been made by Mr. H. H. Travers in the course of two visits paid to those islands in the years 1866 and 1871. A few specimens have been added to the collection at different times by other parties visiting those islands. With few exceptions all the plants in this list are also common to New Zealand, and will be found described in Hooker's Handbook of the New Zealand Flora, a work which is generally in the hands of every person taking any interest in the subject. Short descriptions will be added of the few not described there.

This list, however, is only published provisionally till Baron F. von Mueller, of Melbourne, who has undertaken the task, finds time from more important labours to furnish a complete analytical list of the whole.

An analysis of the present list shows the total number of plants indigenous to the Chatham Islands of the classes Dicotyledons, Monocotyledons, and Filical Alliance to be 205 species, belonging to 129 genera, and divided among the three classes as follows:—

Gen. Sp.
Dicotyledons 72 109
Monocotyledons 37 49
Ferns and Allies 20 47
129 205

Of this number 191 species are common to New Zealand. One species, Leucopogon richei, is also common to Australia, leaving only 13 species peculiar to the Chatham Islands. The latter are marked with a * in the list.

  • Ranunculus plebeius, Br.

  • rivularis, Banks and Sol.

  • acaulis, Banks and Sol.

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  • Nasturtium palustre, DC. var. terrestre.

  • Cardamine hirsuta, Linn., var. a. debilis.

  • Lepidium oleraceum, Forst.


  • Viola cunninghamii, Hook. fil.

  • Hymenanthera latifolia, Endl. var. chathamica (F. v. Mueller, ‘Veg. Chatham Islands,’ but not described there).

A small pale-barked shrub-tree in bush. Leaves shortly petiolate, oblong ovate, acuminate at both ends, 2—3 inches long, 3/4—1 inch broad, serrate, strongly reticulated on both surfaces; coriaceous; flowers fascicled on the branches, peduncles decurved, 1–5th inch long, with two minute bracts near the middle, calyx-lobes obtuse, ciliolate, not spreading; petals linear oblong, twice as long as the sepals; anthers erect, connate into a fringed membranous tube. Fruit not seen.

This var. has also been collected by Dr. Hector in the Upper Rangitikei country, with large lanceolate leaves 3—4 inches long, sharply serrate, the venation on both surfaces strongly marked and very coriaceous.


  • Stellaria parviflora, Banks and Sol.

  • Colobanthus billardieri, Fenzl.


  • Plagianthus divaricatus, Forst.

  • betulinus, A. Cunn. Nat. name—Houhere. 10—15 feet high.


  • Linum monogynum, Forst.


  • * Geranium traversii, Hook. fil. (Pl. XIII. f. 2.)


  • Discaria toumatou, Forst.


  • Dodonœa viscosa, Forst.


  • Corynocarpus lœvigata, Forst.


  • Coriaria ruscifolia, Linn.


  • Sophora tetraptera, Aiton, var. grandiflora.


  • Potentilla anserina, Linn., var. b.

  • Acœna sanguisorbœ, Vahl.

  • ” “ var. a.

In addition to the species, which is common both to New Zealand and the Chatham Islands, this well-marked var. has been collected by Mr. H. H. Travers on both visits. Characterised by its larger size, very silky habit, and

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long bristles on the calyx. It is often found among scrub, growing 6—8 feet high; stems rigid upright.


  • Tillœa moschata, DC.


  • Drosera binata, Labill.


  • Haloragis alata, Jacq.

  • Myriophyllum elatinoides, Gaud.

  • pedunculatum, Hook. fil.

  • Callitriche verna, Linn.


  • Epilobium confertifolium, Hook, fil., var. a.

  • rotundifolium, Forst.

  • junceum, Forst.

  • pubens, A. Rich.

  • billardierianum, Seringe.

  • pallidiflorum, Sol.


  • Mesembryanthemum australe, Sol.

  • Tetragonia implexicoma, Miquel, var. chathamica.

Widely spreading, or frequently climbing, frutescent leaves broadly rhomboid, occasionally broadly lanceolate, pedicels axillary, solitary, or geminate, downy, longer than the flower, lobes of the calyx unequal in size, semi-lanceolate, inside intensely yellow, stamens 12—16, styles 3—4, fruit 3—4-celled, spherical, red, 3—4-seeded, without wings or teeth. (F. Muell. l. c.)


  • Hydrocotyle asiatica, Linn.

  • moschata, Forst.

  • Crantzia lineata, Nutt.

  • Apium australe, Thouars.

  • Oreomyrrhis colensoi, Hook. fil.

  • * Aciphylla traversii, F. Muell. (Gingidii sp. F. Muell. l. c.; Hook. f. Handb. N.Z. Flora ii. 729).

Plant small, 10in. high, rather flaccid, smooth, leaves all radical, pinnate, 2in. long, numerous, sheath 2in. long, denticulate, 1/2in. broad, with membranous margins, leaflets 5—7, striate and pungent, scape stout, striate, bearing at top one bract and seven involucral leaves similar to the radical leaves, of 5—7 leaflets, and seven long, peduncled, densely capitate, globular umbels of fruit, peduncles unequal, 1 1/2—2 inches long, grooved, umbels lin. in diameter, compound, involucral, leaves of fruit, linear, subulate, 1/3in. long, carpels with five wings, the central dorsal broadest.

Aciphylla lyallii, Hook. fil.

monroi, Hook. fil.

Collected on both visits.

* Ligusticum dieffenbachii, Hook. fil. (Gingidium dieffenbachii, F. Muell. l. c. 17). Daucus brachiatus, Sieb.

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Panax crassifolia, Dene & Planche. (Hedera crassifolia, A. Gray; F. Muell, l. c.)

This species, so remarkable in New Zealand for its varied leaf-form, shows in the Chatham Island plant another well marked variety.

In the varieties of New Zealand the leaves, whether one or three foliolate, are much elongated, narrow, and reflexed downwards for several years before flowering; afterwards they become shorter, broader, and erect.

In the variety under notice the leaves are erect from the first, before flowering being 3—10 inches long, 1—1 1/2 inches broad, and with a few deep serrations at the tips. Mixed with these in the earliest stage are a few small obcordate leaves, lin. long, 3/4in. broad. After the plant commences to flower, the leaves diminish in size and become entire. The fruit is more elongate in this variety than in the varieties of New Zealand, resembling most that of Panax lineare, Hook. fil., from Dusky Bay, South Island.


Corokia buddleoides, A. Cunn.

Native names—Whakataka and Hokataka; grows 15—20 feet high.


Coprosma baueriana, Endl.

Nat. name—Karamu. This species is found in the bush as a small tree, 10—12 feet high.

Coprosma robusta, Raoul.

cunninghamii, Hook. fil.

propinqua, A. Cunn.

Nat. name—Mingimingi; 3—6 feet high, according to Mr. Travers, forming a considerable portion of the bush, and from its dense close growth almost impenetrable.

Coprosma acerosa, A. Cunn.


Olearia angustifolia, Hook. fil., var. (Olearia operina, Hook f. l. c. 731; Eurybia operina, Forst. F. Muell. l.c.)

Leaves very variable in size, obovate-acute to ovate-obtuse, 1—3 inches long, 1/2—1 inch broad, very coriaceous. Peduncles none or short, with a few lax bracts. Flowers large, purple; single flowering, in succession over a lengthened period. Achenes ribbed, silky. Pappus robust; purple on the upper half, pale yellow on the lower. More closely allied to O. angustifolia than to O. operina.

*Olearia semidentata, Decaisne, (Pl. XIV).

Described by Mr. H. H. Travers as a beautiful shrub 1—3 feet high, having masses of dark purple flowers, and generally growing in damp places.

The leaves of young plants are very close set and narrow, differing in this

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Myosotidium Nobile, Hook.

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1.Veronica Chathamica. n.s. 2.Germanium Traversii, Hook.fil

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Olearia Semidentata, Decaisne.

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respect from young plants of O. operina and O. angustifolia, to both of which it is allied.

*Olearia traversii, F. Muell.

Nat. name—Akeake; 20—30 feet high, and sometimes 2 feet in diameter. This may be considered as the only valuable timber tree in the islands, being durable and not subject to the attacks of insects.

  • Brachycome sinclairi, Hook. fil.

  • Cotula coronopifolia, Linn.

  • *(Myriogyne) featherstonii, F. Muell.

  • lanata, Hook. fil.

  • Craspedia fimbriata, DC.

  • Gnaphalium bellidioides, Hook. fil.

  • filicaule, Hook, fil.

  • luteo-album, Linn.

  • involucratum, Forst.

  • collinum, Labill.

  • Erechtites prenanthoides, DC.

  • scaberula, Hook. fil.

  • quadridentatus, DC.

  • Senecio lautus, Forst.

  • " Forst., var. radiolatus (S. radiolatus, F. Muell., l. c.).

A broader leaved var. of this species than that from the Chatham Islands has since been collected by Mr. Travers on the Brothers Rocks, Cook Strait. The leaves are remarkably thick and fleshy, and only show membranous, as stated in the Handb. N.Z. Flora, p. 734, after drying.

  • *Senecio huntii, F. Muell. Nat. name—Rautine. (F. Muell., l. c.)

  • Taraxacum dens-leonis, Desf.

  • Sonchus oleraceus, Linn.

  • Wahlenbergia gracilis, A.DC.

  • Lobelia anceps, Thunb.

  • Pratia macrodon, Hook. fil.


*Cyathodes robusta, Hook. fil. (C. acerosa, Br., var. b. latifolia, Flora N.Z. i., 163, and Veg. Chatham Islands, 43).

  • Leucopogon richei, Br. (F. Muell., l. c. 45).

  • Pentachondra pumila, Br.

  • Dracophyllum scoparium, Hook. fil., Flora Antarct. i. 47 (D. urvilleanum, A. Rich, var. d. Handb. N.Z. FI. i. 182; D. latifolium, Hook. fil., var. ciliolatum, l. c. ii. 736).

A small tree 20—30 feet high. Specimens in Mr. Travers' collection show the young leaves flat, 8—9 inches long, and 3/4 inch broad, becoming reduced in size before flowering to 2—3 inches long, very narrow, involute, and ciliate on the lower margin in all stages; both sizes may be found on the same plant, the larger form on the lower branches only.

In the young state the fascicles of large broad leaves bear a considerable resemblance to those of D. latifolium, A. Cunn., and D. menziesii, Hook. fil., neither of which are found on the islands.

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This plant, from its large leaves when young and ciliate margins, has good claim to be re-established as a distinct species, though latterly it has only been considered as a var. of D. urvilleanum.

It is also found in the Lake District of Otago, where it was at first supposed to be D. menziesii, Hook. fil., never having been found in flower, although the leaf transition was noticed on small plants.

Dracophyllum rosmarinifolium, Forst.

A small shrub 3—8 inches high. In Mr. Travers' collection rooted specimens 3—4 inches high are found in flower. It agrees in every respect with the above species, except in sometimes having 1—4-flowered spikes, instead of 1—2-flowered spikes, as described by Dr. Hooker (Handb. N.Z. Flora, 183).


*Myrsine chathamica, F. Muell.

Shrubby, erect, much branched. Leaves 1 1/2—2 1/2 inches long, obovateoblong, obtuse or emarginate, pale and reticulated on both surfaces (Dr. Hooker, Handb. N.Z. FI. 736). The fruit is described by Baron F. von Mueller as purplish, spherical, one-seeded, size of a large pea. To this may be added: Flowers in capitate lateral fascicles; calyx, 4-lobed; petals, 4, pale greenish, spotted red, ciliate on the margins, erect; stamens, 4, adherent to the petals; anthers large; stigma sessile, capitate. Dr. Hooker thinks this may be a large state of M. urvillei, and specimens of the latter, with large, nearly flat leaves, found in New Zealand, approach it very closely, except in size of fruit.

  • Myrsine nummularia, Hook. fil.


  • Samolus littoralis, Br.


  • Gentiana pleurogynoides, Griseb.


  • *Myosotidium nobile, Hook. (PI. XII.)


  • Convolvulus sepium, Linn.

  • soldanella, Linn.

  • Dichondra repens, Forst.


  • Solanum aviculare, Forst.

  • nigrum, Linn.


  • Veronica salicifolia, Forst. (V. forsteri, F. Muell. var. salicifolia, l. c. 46.)

  • *dieffenbachii, Benth.

  • *chathamica, n. sp. (V. forsteri, F. Muell. var. elliptica, l. c. 46.)

  • PL XIII. f. 1.

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A. small prostrate rambling shrub. Branches wiry, 1/3 inch diameter, pubescent. Leaves spreading, irregular in size, sessile, 1/3—1 1/2 inches long, 1–5th—1/2 inch broad, obovate-oblong or ovate-oblong, acuminate, entire, flat, scarcely coriaceous. Racemes few or many, 1—1 1/2 inches long, subterminal at the ends of the branches and axillary to the uppermost leaves, orbicular or ovate. Flowers numerous, closely set; peduncles 1/2 inch long, pubescent; pedicels and lanceolate bracts equal in length, pubescent; sepals 1/8—1/6 inch long, linear lanceolate, ciliate; corolla large, dark purple, tube short; capsule imperfect. This beautiful shrub has been cultivated by Mr. Travers in his garden in Wellington, where the profusion of its dark purple flowers and prostrate habit has proved a most showy addition to those plants adapted for the ornamentation of rock-work or earth banks.


  • Myoporum lœtum, Forst.


  • Mentha cunninghamii, Benth.


  • Chenopodium triandrum, Forst.

  • glaucum, Linn.

  • Atriplex patula, Linn.

  • billardieri, Hook fil.

  • Salicornia indica, Willd.


  • Polygonum minus, Huds., var. decipiens.

  • Muhlenbeckia adpressa, Lab.


  • Pimelea arenaria, A. Cunn.


  • Euphorbia glauca, Forst.


  • Urtica australis, Hook fil.

  • Parietaria debilis, Forst.


  • Piper excelsum, Forst.



  • Earina mucronata, Lindl.

  • Acianthus sinclairii, Hook. fil.

  • Corysanthes macrantha, Hook. fil.

  • Microtis porrifolia, Spreng.

  • Pterostylis banksii, Br.

  • banksii, Br., var. b.

  • micromega, Hook. fil.

  • Caladenia bifolia, Hook. fil. (Chiloglottis traversii, F. Muell., l. c., 51.)

  • Chiloglottis cornuta, Hook. fil.

  • Thelymitra longifolia, Forst.

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  • Libertia ixioides, Spreng.


  • Triglochin triandrum, Mich.

  • Potamogeton natans, Linn.

  • Ruppia maritima, Linn.


  • Rhipogonum scandens, Forst.

  • Astelia cunninghamii, Hook. fil.

  • grandis, Hook. fil. (Trans. N.Z. Inst., IV., 245, Mr. Kirk on N.Z. Asteliads).

  • Phormium tenax, Forst.


  • Areca sapida, Sol.


  • Juncus planifolius, Br.

  • bufonius, Linn.

  • novœ-zealandiœ, Hook. fil.

  • Luzula campestris, DC.


  • Leptocarpus simplex, A. Rich.

  • *Sporadanthus traversii, F. Muell., n. gen. and n. sp.


  • Schœnus axillaris, Hook. fil.

  • Scirpus triqueter, Linn.

  • Eleocharis gracilis, Br., var. c. radicans.

  • acuta, Br., var. platylepis.

  • Isolepis nodosa, Br.

  • aucklandica, Hook. fil.

  • Desmoschœnus spiralis, Hook. fil.

  • Cladium glomeratum, Br.

  • Uncinia rupestris, Raoul.

  • Carex appressa, Br.

  • Forsteri, Wahl.

  • trifida, Cavan.

  • lambertiana, Boott.


  • Hierochloe redolens, Br.

  • Dichelachne crinita, Hook. fil.

  • Agrostis œmula, Br.

  • Arundo conspicua, Forst.

  • Danthonia semi-annularis, Br.

  • Deschampsia cœspitosa, Palisot.

  • Trisetum subspicatum, Palisot.

  • Poa breviglumis, Hook. fil.

  • foliosa, Hook. fil., var. a.

  • " " var. b.

  • Festuca littoralis, Br.



  • Gleichenia dicarpa, Br.

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Olearia Angustifolia, Hook.fil.var.

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  • Cyathea dealbata, Swartz.

  • medullaris, Swartz.

  • Dicksonia squarrosa, Swartz.

  • Hymenophyllum bivalve, Swartz.

  • dilatatum, Swartz.

  • javanicum, Spreng. (H. crispatum, Wallich, Synopsis Filicum.)

  • demissum, Swartz.

  • flabellatum, Labill.

  • Trichomanes reniforme, Forst.

  • venosum, Br.

  • Lindsaya linearis, Swartz.

  • Adiantum hispidulum, Swartz.

  • affine, Willd. (A. cunninghamii, Hook. fil., Synopsis Filicum.)

  • Hypolepis tenuifolia, Bernh.

  • distans, Hook.

  • Pellœa rotundifolia, Forst.

  • Pteris aquilina, Linn., var. esculenta.

  • scaberula, A. Rich.

  • incisa, Thunb.

  • Lomaria procera, Spreng., var. d.

  • dura, Moore.

  • lanceolata, Spreng.

  • discolor, Willd.

  • alpina, Spreng.

  • Asplenium obtusatum, Forst.

  • var. g. lucidum.

  • var. g. lucidum.

  • falcatum, Lam.

  • bulbiferum, Forst.

  • flaccidum, Forst., var. d.

  • Aspidium aculeatum, Swartz.

  • oculatum, Hook.

  • capense, Willd. (A. coriaceum, Swartz, Synopsis Filicum).

  • Nephrodium decompositum, R. Br., var. b.

  • Polypodium grammitides, Br.

  • punctatum, Thunb., var. b. (P. rugulosum, Labill., Synopsis Filicum).

  • pennigerum, Forst.

  • serpens, Forst. (P. rupestre, R. Br., Synopsis Filicum).

  • pustulatum, Forst.

  • billardieri, Br.

  • Schizœa fistulosa, Labill.

  • Ophioglossum vulgatum, Linn., var. b. costatum

  • Botrychium ternatum, Swartz, var. dissectum (B. cicutarium, Sw., Synopsis Filicum.

  • Lycopodium varium, Br.

  • billardieri, Spreng.

  • densum, Labill.

  • laterale, Br.

  • scariosum, Forst.

  • volubile, Forst.

  • Tmesipteris forsteri, Endl.