Art. LXXIII.–Description of a new Species of Lycopodium.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 11th January, 1879.] Lycopodium ramulosum, n. s.
A Procumbent plant forming compact masses; stems 2–4 inches long, rather stout, repeatedly dichotomously branched; leaves crowded all round the stem, imbricated or spreading ⅕–¼ inch long, narrow subulate, coriaceous above, acute or pungent; spikes numerous, terminal ½–¾ inch long, bracts small, sessile, ovate, abruptly acuminate, slightly toothed.
Hab.–South Island: Hokitika, W. Tipler! Okarito, A. Hamilton!
This plant differs from all other New Zealand species in its dense, compact habit; in some respects it closely approaches L. laterale, ß. diffusum, but that form is always erect, or sub-erect, and never grows in compact masses; moreover, it is but sparingly branched, and never has terminal spikes. In all these points our plant is strongly marked, and may easily be recognized at sight. It was originally discovered near Hokitika by Mr. Tipler, and subsequently at Okarito by Mr. Hamilton. I am indebted to both gentlemen for a supply of specimens.
The spikes of our plant differ but little from those of L. lateraie, Br., except in their greater number and smaller size. In the young state the
catkins are closely appressed, and ascending, but when the sporangia discharge their contents the tips of the scales become patent or even reflexed. The points of the young shoots are often of a reddish colour, and when growing in exposed situations the leaves become harsh and pungent.
Not unfrequently two spikes are produced from the apex of a branch, and rarely the fertile branch is overtopped by a luxuriant “usurping shoot,” so that the spike appears to be lateral, showing its close affinity with L. laterale which is still further strengthened by the fact that in that species the spikes are not invariably sessile, but occasionally are developed on very short leafy peduncles.
It is worthy of note that in L. laterale the spikes are frequently confined to one side of the stem.
Our plant has affinites also with L. clavatum, φ magellanicum.
L. laterale and L. divulsum are considered distinct by Bentham, in Flora Australiensis [Vol. VII., p. 675.] In New Zealand the latter form is not confined to alpine districts, but occasionally occurs in peaty bogs, from the sea level upwards, and notwithstanding its rigid appearance passes by insensible gradations into the typical form of L. lateale.
Description of Plate XIX., Fig. B.
Lycopodium ramulosum, n. s.
Old spike, with empty sporangia, enlarged.
Bract, outer face, magnified.
Bract, inner face with sporangium, magnified.
Spores, highly magnified.