Art. LV.—Notice of the Occurrence of Juncus glaucus, L., in New Zealand.
[Read before the Otago Institute, 17th January, 1878.]
In company with Captain J. Campbell-Walker I had the pleasure of discovering this interesting addition to our flora by the road-side between Hokitika and Ross, within a mile of the left bank of the Hokitika river. I had not time to make a detailed examination of the locality, but Mr. Shillitoe, who kindly went over it at my request, informs me that the plant occurs plentifully over a considerable area.
Juncus glaucus bears some resemblance to J. communis, Meyer, but is distinguished by its hard texture, interrupted pith, and glaucous striate rigid culms; the perianth segments are lanceolate and equal the capsule in length; the capsule is mucronate.
The culms are two to three feet in length, frequently drooping in large specimens.
In J. communis, var. hexangularis, the pith is sometimes slightly interrupted, but never to so great an extent as in J. glaucus, from which it may always be distinguished by the retuse capsule.
In all probability Juncus glaucus is not unfrequent on the west coast of the South Island. It is singular that this species, as well as J. lamprocarpus, Ehrhart, should not have been observed earlier. The latter species is abundant in the Hokitika district, extending southward to the Bluff and northward to Port Nicholson, but is not found on the eastern side of either island. In Taranaki and Auckland it is replaced by Juncus holoschœnus, Thunb.
The South Island is much richer in Junceœ than has hitherto been supposed. In addition to the species now mentioned, Juncus capillaceus, Hook. f., previously known only in a single habitat in Hawke Bay, has been found in the Southern Alps; J. pauciflorus, T. Kirk, at Broken River, and J. involucratus, T. Kirk, in the Amuri. In short, with the exception of J. antarcticus, Hook. f., restricted to the mountain tops of Campbell Island, and the northern J. holoschœnus, all the New Zealand species are found in what may be termed the middle portion of the South Island—the old provincial districts of Westland and Christchurch including the Amuri. We may fairly expect that other species will be discovered.