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Volume 14, 1881
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Art. LVIII.—A Revision of the New Zealand Lepidia, with Descriptions of new Species.

[Received by the Wellington Philosophical Society, 13th March, 1882.].*

1. Lepidiun oleraceum, Forst.

A. Rich., Flore de la Nouvelle Zelande, t. 35

Hook, f., Fl. N.Z., i, 15; Handb. N.Z. Flora, 14.

Hab.—In sheltered places near the sea, North Island, South Island, Stewart Island, Auckland Islands (Bolton).

[Footnote] * Title read at Annual Meeting, 12th February, 1881

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This is the most robust of all the New Zealand species; the stems being sometimes as thick as a man's little finger. The leaves are sharply serrated, never pinnate or pinnatifid, sometimes the serration is confined to the apices. The racemes are always terminal, pods entire, wingless, style exserted. The leaves are more or less succulent, and the whole plant emits a strong, unpleasant odour. A form with the radical leaves ovate or oblong on naked petioles is occasionally found.

2. L. flexicaule, n.s.

Stems numerous, flexuous, irregularly branched from the base. Radical leaves 2″–3″ long, linear-oblong, pinnate or pinnatifid; segments irregularly serrate near the apex. Cauline leaves gradually smaller, linear spathulate. Racemes lateral, leaf-opposed, each with a solitary flower a short distance below its base. Flowers perfect, petals extremely minute, pods on short pedicels; oblong, notched at the apex. Style included in the notch. formed by the wings.

Hab.—North Island: rocky places near the sea, Waitemata, Manukau, etc.

This species is characterized by the lateral racemes, which are terminal at first but become reduced to a lateral position by the growth of a stout usurping shoot which overtops them. The winged fruit has the style included in the notch, and the irregular somewhat obtuse serration of the leaves affords a strong contrast with the regular acute teeth of L. oleraeum. I have seen no South Island specimens, but have little doubt its distribution is equally extensive with that of the preceding species.

In its inflorescence this plant resembles Senebiera didyma, Pers.

3. Lepidium sisymbrioides, Hook. f.

Handb. N.Z. Flora, 14.

Hab—South Island: Lake Ohau, Haast; Mackenzie Country, J. B. Armstrong.

I have not seen good specimens of this plant, which appears to be diœcious. In two small specimens given me by Mr. Armstrong, the leaves and stem are sparingly clothed with short appressed hairs.

4. Lepidium solandri, n.s.

Root stout, one- or many-headed. Leaves crowded, rosulate, linearlanceolate, or obovate, 1″–1½″ long, with short, broad petioles, pinnatifid; segments often broad, clothed with scattered hairs, glandular. Stems spreading, sub-erect, naked, or with a few small entire leaves at the base. Flowers diœcious, petals O, ♂ fl. stamens tetrandrous; ♀ flowers numerous, pedicels very slender, pod ovate-rhomboid with very narrow wings, hairy, emarginate, style longer than the notch.

Hab.—South Island: limestone rocks, Broken River Basin, Canterbury-J. D. Enys and T. Kirk.

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This species is allied to L. sisymbrioides, from which it is distinguished by the naked stems, apetalous flowers, straight pedicels, and narrowly winged pods.

In old specimens the root is four feet long, and fully one inch in diameter; much divided near the apex, so that the numerous heads form a compact hemispherical mass of leaves 6″–12″ across. The stems of the ♂ plant are more leafy at the base than the female, and produce fewer flowers. It is evidently the supposed Lepidium incisum stated in the Handbook to have been collected by Haast on “limestone rocks in the subalpine region of the Waimakariri.”

5. Lepidium tenuicaule, n.s.

Leaves all radical, and with the stems more or less clothed with short whitish hairs: pinnate or pinnatifid, 1″–3″ long: segments laciniate and sharply serrate on the upper margin; teeth linear, acute, piliferous. Stems very numerous, prostrate, 6″–12″ long, extremely slender, flexuous, simple or branched, leafless, or with two or three minute entire leaves on the lower part. Flowers excessively numerous, perfect, on short, slender pedicels, stamens 4, pod small, shorter than the peduncle, orbicular, not winged, style minute.

Hab.— South Island: Cape Whanbrow.

This species differs from all other New Zealand forms in the prostrate habit and innumerable flowers, and the orbicular pods separate it from all except L. australe; the style in the fully-formed fruit is reduced to a mere point.

It was originally discovered by Mr. D. Petrie, and is produced in abundance after every disturbance of the silt which covers the cape, but decreases in quantity as the surface becomes consolidated.

6. Lepidium australe, n.s.

An erect, much-branched, leafy species, 10″–15″ high. Radical leaves 3″–6″ long, on rather long petioles, linear-oblong, narrowed. below, pinnate; leaflets shortly petioled, incised and toothed on the upper margin, or rarely entire. Cauline leaves smaller, pinnatifid or entire serrate. Racemes terminal, spreading, flowers perfect, shortly pedicellate. Pods orbicular or ovate-orbicular, minutely emarginate, style minute.

Hab.—South Island: Cape Whanbrow-T. K.; near Cromwell-D. Petrie.

Allied to L. tenuicaule, from which it differs widely in habit, in the racemes being leafy at the base and in the somewhat wider pod, which is usually emarginate. The habit is the same as L. oleraceum, but the plant is much smaller.

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Mr. Petrie has sent specimens from Otago which in some respects are intermediate between this species and L. flexicaule; but the specimens are too far advanced to allow of my forming a positive opinion.

7. Lepidium incisum, Banks and Solander.

FI. N.Z., i., 15; Handb. 14.

I have seen no specimens of this plant, which appears to be extremely local. Mr. Colenso is the only living botanist who has met with it, and the habitat in which he found it has not proved productive of late years.

The Waimakariri habitat stated in the Handbook for this species must be erased, L. solandri being the plant intended.