Art. LXXVI.—Revised descriptions of two species of New Zealand Panax.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 16th September, 1876.]
No. 1. Panax crassifolinm, Dene, and Planch.
A small tree 20–25 feet high. Stem 8–12 inches diameter, irregularly
branched, bark greenish or dirty brown. Leaves in young plants under 20 years of age 1–5 foliolate, very coriaceous and stiff, reflected downwards, 12–18 inches long, 1 inch broad, linear and enlarged at top, narrowed at bottom into short, stout, exstipulate petiole, deeply, distantly sinuate-serrate, serratures cuspidate, variegated in colour, purplish below, dark green above, with pale green spots on the base or point of each tooth, mid-rib stout, reddish. Leaves of old plants erect, 4–6 inches long, ½ inch broad, linear, quite entire, with a few sinuate serratures on the obtuse top, or serrated, narrowed at bottom into a short, stout, exstipulate petiole. Umbels unisexual, terminal, twice compound, peduncles of fruiting umbels ¾–1 inch long, male racemose umbels 1–2 inches long, pedicles very short, bracteate. Flowers small, largest in the fruiting umbels. Fruit large, globose when fresh, ¼ inch diameter, 5-celled. Styles 5, connate into a cone, with their summits free and re-curved.
Common near Dunedin and Nelson. This species is of very slow growth. A young plant, 12 inches high, was removed from the bush, Anderson Bay, near Dunedin, in 1856, and planted in the North East Valley by myself. The stem is now, in 1876, only 10 feet high and 2 inches diameter at base, and it has not yet flowered or acquired the upright foliage.
This species will be distinguished from Panax longissimum, Hook., fil., by the deep sinuations in the leaves of young plants, the small compact twice compound umbels, 5-celled large fruit, and racemose male umbels.
No. 2. Panax longissimum, Hook., fil.
A small tree, 20–25 feet high. Stem, 8–12 inches in diameter; bark, dirty whitish brown; branches usually collected on top of the long bare stem, in an umbellate manner. Leaves in young plants under fifteen years old, 1–5 foliolate, very coriaceous and stiff, reflected downwards, 12–24 inches long, ½–1 inch broad, linear, tapering to a point, and narrowed at bottom into a short, stout, exstipulate petiole, distantly serrate, serratures often cuspidate, very irregular both in distance and size, often large or scarcely visible, green, or dark purplish-green, with sometimes pale green spots on serrations, mid-rib stout, reddish. Leaves of older plants erect, 5–10 inches long, 1–2 inches broad, oblong, or linear acuminate, with small cuspidate serrations, or nearly entire, narrowed at bottom into a short, stout, exstipulate petiole. Umbels unisexual, terminal, thrice compound, wide-spreading, peduncles 2–3 inches long, pedicels 1 inch, bracts small, sometimes racemose above. Flowers rather large. Fruit small, globose,
1 ½ tenths inch diameter. Cells 4. Styles 4, connate into a cone, with their summits free, but scarcely recurved.
Common throughout the islands. The trifoliate state of the young leaves is rare at Dunedin, as also at Wellington, but common in Auckland and Canterbury Districts.
This species may be distinguished from Panax crassifolium by the long linear leaves of the young plant, more or less serrate, the thrice compound wide-spreading umbels, and the small 4-celled fruit.
Much difficulty has been experienced by local collectors in discriminating between the present species and Panax crassifolium, in consequence of absence of a full description of P. longissimum in the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora;” and, as this difficulty can be easiest remedied in the Bush, the present attempt—the result of observations made there—is offered for that purpose.