Art. L.—Notice of the Occurrence of Liparophyllum gunnii, Lob., in New Zealand.
[Read before the Otago Institute, 10th February, 1880.]
The following is the generic character of Liparophyllum, translated from Hooker's Flora of Tasmania:—
Calyx deeply 5-fid. Corolla subrotate, limb patent 5-partite, lobes hairless, disc even thick, margins undulated. Stamens five, filaments short; hypogynous glands none. Ovary one-celled, placentas two, parietal, ovules numerous. Fruit indehiscent, subbaccate. Seeds very numerous, suborbicular, compressed (my specimens immature); testæ rather hard and thick.
A very small marshy herb; rhizome creeping, giving off stout fibres; branches ascending, short, leafy; leaves linear-elongate, fleshy, somewhat sheathing at the base. Peduncles terminal, solitary, short, one-flowered; flowers white.
The specific description of L. gunnii is given as follows:—A very small herb, 1–2 inches high, resembling a dwarf state of Claytonia australasica. Rhizomes long, cylindric, branching, sending down long, very thick, simple fibres; stems short; leaves linear, one inch long, 1/6 broad, subacute, fleshy, quite entire. Peduncle shorter than the leaves, terminal, erect, one-flowered. Flowers about 1/3-inch in diameter. Calyx lobes five, acute. Corolla, short; lobes five, oblong, blunt, with a thick fleshy disc, and undulated, broad, membranous margins. Fruit globose; seeds numerous, compressed, nearly orbicular, bright yellow.
This remarkable plant belongs to the natural order Gentianeæ, and is extremely unlike the other New Zealand representatives of the same order. It is a member of the tribe Menyantheæ, Griesbach. It occurs abundantly in marshy ground at the head of Paterson's Inlet, Stewart Island, and more sparingly in similar situations at Port Pegasus. In Tasmania it grows in wet sandy soil on the margin of alpine lakes, but in Stewart Island its habitat is little above sea-level. I am indebted to Thomas Kirk, Esq., F.L.S., of Wellington, for the first hint that the plant was Liparophyllum gunnii. It has not, so far as I know, been gathered here in flower, or by any one else than Mr. Thomson and myself. The other characters agree so well with Hooker's description, that I entertain no doubt as to the accuracy of Mr. Kirk's identification.