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Volume 11, 1878
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Art. LXXVI.–Descriptions of New Plants.

[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 1st March, 1879.]

Compositæ

Olearia oleifolia

A Much branched shrub 5 to 8 feet high; branchlets crowded, strict, ascending, angular, clothed with short velvetty pubescence; leaves 2″ to 3″ long, ⅕″ to ½″ wide, coriaceous, shortly petioled, narrow lanceolate, acute, erect, minutely reticulated above, white beneath with matted appressed haírs forming an even surface, veins obscure; corymbs on slender peduncles twice as long as the leaves; heads numerous on slender pedicels, involucre narrow, ⅕″ to ¼″ long, cylindrical, scales few, inner membranous, linear, ciliated, pubescent; fiorets 4–5, two or three with a broad obovate ray; pappus hairs white, scabrid at the tip; achene furrowed silky.

Hab: South Island–Ashburton, T. H. Potts! Rangitat, 4,000–5,000 feet, J. F. Armstrong! Preservation Inlet, Otago, J. D. Enys!

For my first knowledge of this plant, I am indebted to Mr. Potts, who showed me specimens under cultivation several years ago, and expressed his belief in its specific distinctness, although he had not seen flowers. A living, plant kindly given me by Mr. Armstrong in 1873 flowered for the first time in February, 1878. Its affinities are with O. avicenniafolia and O. albida, from both of which it is distinguished at sight by its strict habit,

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excessively crowded branchlets, and narrow leaves. In the inflorescence it approaches most closely to the former, but differs in the narrow involucral scales with green tips, and the longer involucres. The leaves are less evidently reticulate on both surfaces.

Raoulia apice-nijr [ unclear: ]

A small densely-tufted plant, forming compact masses, 2–5 inches in height. Leaves densely imbricated, ovate spathulate, obtuse, covered with snow-white loosely approssed hairs. Heads ⅛″–⅕″ long; involucral scales linear with scarious margins and black tips. Pappus hairs white, scabrid near the tip, but more thickened. Achenes glabrous.

Hab: South Island–Mount Monro, Awatere, 5-600 feet, P. McRao and T. Kirk. Ben Lomond, Otago, 5,500, D. Petrie.

A singular plant: immediately before flowering the heads are black and glossy, presenting a marked contrast to the snow-whits leaves. It is most closely allied to R. australia, from which it is distinguished by the blacktipped involucral leaves.

Scrophularineæ

Veronica armstrongii

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A dwarf much-branched shrub, 1–3 feet high. Leaves minute, dimorphie. 1, linear, patent, or sub-patent 1/10″–⅛″ long, acute. 2, closely appressed, tumid and coriaceous, adnate with the branch for half their length, broadly ovate, sub-acute, margins faintly ciliated. Flowers in terminal 3–8-flowered heads, sessile; sepals ovate-lanceolate with a strong median nervo ciliated. Corolla tube short, limb ⅙″–⅕″ in diameter, whitish. Capsulo ovate acuminate, longer than the sepals, slightly tumid and notched at the apex.

Hab: South Island–Nelson, Upper Wairau and Amuri 3–4,500 feet, T. Kirk. Source of the Rangitata, 4–6,000 feet, J. F. and J. B. Armstrong.

Our plant presents the appearance of a hybrid between V. salicornioides and V. hectori, and must, I think, be considered of doubtful specific validity. In its robust habit and subacute appressed leaves, it resembles V. hectori; it is more closely allied to V. salicornioides by the inflorescence and capsulo, as well as by the arrangement of the appressed leaves, the upper portion being free and widened out, so that each pair of leaves forms a minute funnel-shaped cup surrounding the branch, and presenting a curious articulated appearance resembling some corallines.

The appressed leaves are not constantly ciliated in any of the forms belonging to this section, and in this respect vary greatly oven on the same branch. The same remark applies to the glandular dotting of the leaves, which is characteristic of V. hectori, V. armstrongii, and V. salicornioides–at least I do not find the leaves truly connato in either plant, although in close contact for the length of their base.

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All the Otago specimens of Veronica hectori that I have seen are more robust than those from the Canterbury and Nelson mountains; the length of the capsule varies considerably.

Notwithstanding the doubts I entertain of the claims of our plant to specific honours, I have great pleasure in describing it under the name by which it has become known to horticulturists. As it adapts itself to artificial conditions more readily than any other species belonging to the section (except perhaps V. cupressoides), and is easily recognized by its flabellate branches, it will probably retain its name even if it should ultimately be considered a form of V. salicornioides; but it would have afforded me greater pleasure to have attached the name of its discovered to some form more likely to prove of permanent specific value.

The dimorphism in the foliage of all species characterized by appressed leaves has not received the attention it merits. The spreading leaves are easily produced under cultivation; if the plants are kept in a cool, shaded situation, they will be developed from the tips of branches bearing appressed leaves as well as from all newly formed branches. In V. cupressoides the free leaves are ovate, lobulate or nearly pinnatifid. There can be little doubt that the free leaves are equally characteristic of the seedling state of the plant, although I have been unable to find-them in a wild condition.

Many of the New Zealand species of Veronca comprise a series of forms capable of being recognized by the eye, especially when their minute differences are exaggerated under the luxuriant growth induced by cultivation, but they pass into each other by insensible gradations, and are not capable of rigid definition. In this respect they resemble Rosa canina, Rubus fruticosus, and Salix repens of Northern Europe; and the trivial varieties and sub-varieties of our Veronicas are no more worthy of being elevated to specific rank than the varieties and sub-varieties of these variable European plants.

Plantagineæ

Plantago hamiltoni

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Stem very short. Leaves rosulate, ½″–1 ½″ long, more or less clothed with scattered jointed hairs, linear lanceolate, toothed or nearly entire, narrowed into a broad petiole, with shaggy hairs at the base. Scapes 1-flowered, crowded amongst the leaves, at first very short 3/16″–5/16″ long (always ?) elongating as the fruit matures; sepals short, broad, obtuse; corolla tube narrow, lobes acute, spreading, ovary large, ovate. Capsule (always ?) when ripe on an elongated scape ¾″–1″ long, very large, fully ⅛″–1/10″ broad, ovate, apiculate, glabrous, imperfectly 4-celled cells 2-seeded.

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Hab: South Island–mouth of the Grey River, A. Hamilton. Stewart Island (specimens not in flower, and identification therefore uncertain), D. Petrie.

The nearest ally of our plant is Plantago uniflora of the Ruahine Mountains, which at present has only been collected by its discoverer, Mr. Colenso. P. hamiltoni is distinguished by the ovate, obtuse sepals, prominent midrib, the flowers on abbreviated scapes which elongate as the capsule approaches maturity, and especially by the capsule, which is the largest in the genus.

Mr. Petrie's specimens, from marshes on Stewart Island, are less hairy than those from the Grey, and the leaves are not so strongly toothed; but these characters vary greatly in all species of Plantago, and in this case are partly due to difference of habitat, Mr. Hamilton's plants having been collected on shingle.

I have great pleasure in associating the name of its enthusiastic discoverer with this interesting species.