Art. LXX.—Notes on Mr. Hamilton's Collection of Okarito Plants.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 10th January, 1879.]
During a few months' residence in Okarito, Mr. Hamilton made a collection of plants found in the immediate vicinity, and kindly placed it at my disposal for examination. The results show that his work is of great value, not only throwing light upon the botany of a district of which previously we were entirely ignorant, and adding one or two species to our flora, but especially in extending our knowledge of the geographical distribution of certain local species, and clearing up doubts entertained with regard to others. I gladly comply with his request to summarize the chief points of interest brought out by his labours, in order that they may accompany the useful catalogue of Okarito plants, which he has prepared for publication in our Transactions.*
Mr. Hamilton informs me that the collection consists entirely of lowland plants, none of the specimens having been obtained at a greater altitude than 1,000 feet. In addition to alpine plants, many lowland species of general distribution are omitted from the collection; amongst these are Podocarpus dacrydioides, P. ferruginea, P. spicata, Olearia cunninghamii, Convolvolus soldanella C. sepium, Panax arboreum Elæocarpus dentatus, E. tetragonum, Epilolium pubens, Ranunculus acaulis, and other common lowland forms; also such forms as Dacrydium colensoi, Libocedrus bidwillii, and others of a subalpine character, which doubtless attain their lowest limit in the district at or below one thousand feet. Amongst genera not represented in the collection are Pittosporum, Colobanthus, Geranium, Aciphylla, Schefflera, Erechtites, Dracophyllum, Rumex, Chenopodium, Atherosperma, Potamogeton, Gahnia, Triticum, and Echinopogon, all of which must occur in the district, although at present they have not been collected, while many large genera, as Ranunculus, Carmichælia, Epilobium, Coprosma, Olearia, Cotula, Pimelea, Juncus, are represented by not more than from one to three species. At present, therefore, no conclusions based upon the apparent absence of certain species would be trustworthy, and I can do little more than point out the most remarkable species, and indicate the additions made to our knowledge of the geographical distribution of others.
Alectryon excelsum, DCand., and Quintinia serrata, Cunn., both of which may be expected to find their southern limit at or near Okarito, are not represented in Mr. Hamilton's collection.
A fragment of an erect plant belonging to this genus is in the collection, The branches are long and somewhat spreading; leaves half inch long,
[Footnote] * Vide Art LXIX.
sessile, toothed; flowers in terminal racemes. The specimen is immature fruited condition. The habit of the plant is exactly that of Camelina dentata, Pers., which it closely resembles in general appearance.
Viola filicaulis, Hook. f.
Mr. Hamilton points out that the flowers are sometimes produced in pairs from the same axil.
Panax simplex, Forst.
A small specimen, not more than 3 inches in height, is doubtfully identified with the young state of this species. It has 5–foliolate, membranous leaves, with long slender petioles, and pinnate or pinnatifid leaflets; the segments sharply toothed.
Panax, sp. nov.?
Two specimens in the young state, 6–8 inches in height, appear widely different from any described New Zealand species. They are characterised by simple linear leaves, similar to those of P. crassifolium, but membranous, narrow, and not more than from 3 to 5 inches long, on slender petioles, with sharp distant teeth. One specimen has at the base deeply tripartite leaves, the middle segment being much the longest. The lowest leaf is trilobate, with short broad teeth, so that it closely resembles the leaf of the hawthorn.
Celmisia bellidioides, Hook. f.
Mr. Hamilton does not mention the precise locality where he collected this plant, probably in the vicinity of the lower part of the Francis Joseph Glacier, which would explain its occurrence at so low an elevation as 1,000 feet or less.
Cuscuta densiflora, Hook. f.
The discovery of this remarkably local plant at Okarito shows a marked extension of its western range. Elsewhere it occurs in Nelson, Port Underwood, and Otago, but appears to be confined to a single locality in each district.
Euphrasia revoluta, Hook. f.
Not previously observed at so low an altitude as 1,000 feet; the remarks respecting Celmisia bellidioides apply to this plant also.
Euphrasia longiflora, MS.
I apply this name provisionally to a remarkable plant of which Mr. Hamilton's specimens are scarcely sufficient to enable me to offer a complete description. It will be seen that in some respects it differs from Euphrasia, although perhaps not to a sufficient degree to warrant generic distinction.
Stems weak, procumbent, matted, tetragonous, 2–4 inches long, and with the leaves sparingly covered with scattered retrorse hairs; leaves
opposite or verticilate, quite entire, ⅙–¼ inch long, shortly petioled or sessile, lanceolate, acuminate, 3-nerved. Flowers on short curved peduncles, solitary, axillary, erect, calyx 4-toothed; corolla tube narrow, greatly elongated, ½–¾ inch long, tip short, broad, bifid, projecting; capsules oblong, slightly beaked, ovules solitary.
This plant differs from all other Euphrasiœ in the entire leaves, greatly elongated corolla tube, and solitary ovules. A further supply of specimens is desirable in order to establish the permanence of the last character.
Spiranthes australis, Linde.
The Okarito specimens of this local plant mark a considerable extension of its western range. Specimens mixed with Microtis porrifolia, apparently collected on Banks' Peninsula some years back by Mr. Armstrong, junr., are in the herbarium of the Christchurch Museum; the credit of its first discovery in the South Island is therefore due to that gentleman.
The other known localities for this species in New Zealand are Waikato, where it was originally discovered by Mr. Colenso; St. John's Lake, Auck-land, whence I have a fine specimen collected by Mr. Cheesenman; and Kaitoke swamps on the Great Barrier Island, where I had the pleasue of collecting it some years past.
Zostera nana, Roth., var. müelleri.
This discovery marks a great extension of the southern range of our plant, and is the first instance of its having been observed in the South Island.
Ruppia maritima, L.
Two forms of this plant are represented, one with narrow slender sheaths, and elongated spirally coiled peduncles; the other is a more robust plant with much broader sheaths, and may be R. rostellata, Koch, but the specimens are not in flower or fruit.
Astelia cunninghamii. Hook. f.
The Okarito habitat for this species shows a marked extension of its southern range.
Areca sapida, L.
Mr. Hamilton informed me that the occurrence of one or more specimens of the nikau in the vicinity of Okarito is commonly asserted, but although he made enquiries from the diggers, he failed to find it, nor did he meet with anyone who had actually seen the palm growing in the district. I was assured that on the opening of the goldfield at Ross, the nikau occurred sparingly, but was soon destroyed; the most southern habitat known to me on the West Coast is between Greymouth and Hokitika, in latitude 42° 30′. On the East Coast it is said to occur on Banks' Peninsula; I did not observe it at Akaroa, but have no reason to doubt its occurrence on the
north side of the peninsula, which would fix its extreme southern limit, on the main land, in latitude 43° 46′ S; and it is found on the Chatham Islands in latitude 43° 46′ S. The latitude of Nice, the extreme limit of the northern palm, Chamœrops humilis, is 43° 44′ N, so that the actual limits of palms in the northern and southern hemispheres are identical, instead of exhibiting a difference of five or six degrees, as stated in our botanical text books.
Eleocharis sphacelata, Br.
The discovery of this plant on the West Coast of the South Island renders its occurrence on Bluff Island more probable than I have hitherto deemed it. * Its apparent absence from the extensive district between the Taupo country and Okarito is most remarkable.
Isolepis fluitans, Link.
The identification of the Bluff plant referred to this species being doubtful, owing to the imperfect condition of the specimens, its occurrence at Okarito is of some interest, as showing the most southern station at present known.
Three small specimens of a form differing from any other described New Zealand species were picked from amongst grass; although in an imperfect condition, they may be thus characterized:—
Tufted; leaves almost filiform, keeled, erect; culms 2 to 3 inches high, equalling or shorter than the leaves; the lowest bract overlapping the culms. Spikelets 2–3, the uppermost male; female 3–5-flowered; glumes ovateacuminate with a stout nerve; stigmas 2; utricle—?
A doubtful plant, probably not uncommon in both islands; presents rather close affinities with C. testacea, but differs in the broader, spreading leaves, more slender culms, and in having all the spikelets, except the uppermost, on slender peduncles.
Zoysia pungens, Willd.
Okarito is the only locality at present known for this grass on the West Coast of the South Island. It will probably be found to attain its extreme southern limit on the West Coast, possibly at or near to Jackson's Bay.
Cyathea dealbata, Swartz.
This species becomes very local on the West Coast, south of Greymouth, being absent from extensive areas. Its place is occupied by Hemitelia smithii. Mr. Hamilton gives no information as to its occurrence at Okarito.
Hymenophyllum minimum, Swartz.
This species evinces a decided partiality for shaded rocks near the sea. It is easily distinguished from its New Zealand congeners by the solitary
[Footnote] * See Transactions N.Z. Inst., Vol. X., p. 412.
receptacle terminating the rachis, and by its pale green colour. In the North Island it appears to be confined to the vicinity of Cook Strait.
Hymenophyllum cheesemanni, Baker.
Mr. Hamilton is the first discoverer of this plant in the south Island. Recently it has been collected near Hokitika by Mr. Tipler.
Hymenophyllum armstrongii, Kirk.
This shows a considerable extension of its southern range. Mr. Hamilton's specimens suggest the great probability of the identity of this and the preceding species, as many fronds are entirely destitute of the stout marginal nerve which forms the only prominent distinction between the two. The same rhizome sometimes exhibits fronds with the marginal nerve, arrested at different stages of development, from the typical condition of H. armstrongii, in which the marginal nerve is fully developed, to that of H. cheesemanni, in which it is entirely wanting. The marginal nerve may even be developed on one side of a segment, as in H. armstrongii, while the other side exhibits no trace of it, as in H. cheesemanni. Not unfrequently it is reduced to a slight thickening at the base of each tooth. At present I am unable to satisfy myself whether its absence must be considered due to simple non-development or to absorption.
Hymenophyllum villosum, Colenso.
This habitat is at a lower altitude than is usually affected by the species, although I am not certain that it is the lowest yet observed.
Hymenophyllum pulcherrimum, Col.
Mr. Hamilton's specimens are the finest I have seen, some of them being twenty-seven inches long, but remarkably narrow in proportion.
Hymenophyllum rufescens, n.s.
At present only known from this locality and from another in the North Island. See Art. LXXIV.
Davallia novœ-zealandiœ, Col.
The fronds of this plant also are of unusual luxuriance, a solitary pair of pinnœ in the collection, measuring nineteen inches from tip to tip.
Two fragments of a plant which may be Lomaria attenuata, Willd., are comprised in the collection. They are about four or five inches in length; one specimen is the acute apex of a barren frond, the lowest segments of which are apparently pinnate, with an acute narrow sinus, and attached by very broad bases; segments acute, margins uneven. The other specimen is the basal portion of a fertile frond, pinnules sessile, 1 ½ inch long, with broad bases, acuminate, the two lowest deflexed. The specimens are too imperfect to admit of positive identification, but the plant certainly differs from all described New Zealand forms.
Polypodium grammitidis, Br.
On the West Coast of the South Island this plant exhibits a greater range of variation than usual. Mature sporiferous specimens collected by Mr. J. D. Enys are from 2 to 3 inches long, and not more than ¼ inch wide. The lower portion is cut into deltoid pinnules or lobes ⅛ of an inch long; the upper part is deeply toothed. In this state it closely resembles the Cingalese P. cucullatum, Nees, but the pinnules are broader at the base. Some of Mr. Hamilton's Okarito specimens have the pinnules lobed and worked to an excessive degree, in others the fronds are 8 to 10 inches long, pinnatifid, with simple entire pinnules. In others again the frond is similar, but the pinnules are slightly toothed. When in this state I am unable to distinguish this plant from P. subfalcatum, Blume, of the Malay Archipelago.
Lycopodium. ramulosum, Blume.
Only known at present from this locality, and the vicinity of Hokitika. See Art. LXXIII.
P.S.–Since the above was written, Mr. Hamilton has informed me that Celmisia bellidioides and Euphrasia revoluta were collected near the face of the glacier, at an elevation of between 700 and 800 feet.